What’s actually motivating your online store’s target shoppers?

Julian Byrne - Friday, February 12, 2021

A lot of online business owners may feel that they already know whether they sell experiences or physical things. After all, if your firm doesn’t specialise in obvious ‘experiences’ such as holiday packages to Tenerife or driving days that involve blasting a supercar around Silverstone, and instead sells electrical goods such as TVs and laptops, you might think the answer’s pretty clear.

But actually, the true situation might not be so clear – and this can have major implications for how you market what your business does sell, including how you respond to customer concerns.

What is my target customer looking to accomplish?

The above is a big, big question that any business – online or offline – needs to ask themselves regularly.

When it comes down to it, even if – for instance – your store deals solely in electrical items like those mentioned above, it’s not really the items themselves, or even the finer points of their technical specifications, that you’re ultimately selling. What you’re ultimately selling to the customer, is happiness.

Yes, you read that correctly: happiness. Whether your store sells products or ‘experiences’, every store is essentially trying to sell positive and happy experiences.

The customer is approaching your business with a certain need, problem or unhappiness about something, and they’re looking to solve that issue. There’s something that they specifically want to accomplish, and they’ll want to know how your brand can help them to make it a reality.

Let’s look at the aforementioned example of TVs. Your brand might offer impressive 4K Ultra HD widescreen TVs, with pre-loaded streaming apps like Netflix and YouTube. But the customer might be looking for a TV that is available for a certain price, and that has a built-in DVD player, to enable them to watch DVDs for TV programmes and movies that might not be available on Netflix.

You (hopefully) get the idea. Simply reeling off “industry-leading” technical features on your site’s landing and product pages won’t necessarily get you very far, if you don’t understand what the customer is looking to accomplish, and the experience they want to have with whatever product they might eventually buy from you.

You’re selling feelings – so make sure you ask the right questions

Keeping to the TV theme, just think of all of the experiences your favourite TV shows and films bring you... the raw thrills, the sentimental appeal, whatever they happen to be. These experiences are what your brand is ultimately selling, even if you’re handing the customer a box containing something made out of metal and plastic.

However, not all of your online store’s target customers will necessarily be able to easily explain what they do need from a product, so it will also be important to ask questions that tease these needs out. Simply asking them “what do you need to do or solve?” can be a great starting point.

But depending on the product category in question, you might also quiz the customer on their circumstances, activities and preferences. This will help you to narrow down the options so that the shopper purchases and benefits from a product that does give them the experiences they desire.

Remember that a customer whose ‘pain points’ are comprehensively answered by your store’s products, is likelier to be one who continues buying from you for months and years into the future – and they’re likelier to spread a positive word about you to others, too.

For a free no-obligation discussion of your own brand’s needs in relation to website design or other digital marketing services, don’t wait any longer to reach out to the Piranha Designs team.

How can your ecommerce store boost its customer retention rate in 2021?

Julian Byrne - Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The retail industry took a hit at the start of the pandemic – and, in a fashion, continues to do so as many companies are forced to keep their brick-and-mortar stores temporarily shut in line with lockdown restrictions. In sharp contrast, however, the COVID-19 era presents the world of ecommerce with a huge opportunity for growth.

Still, a big question is whether your online store can ensure what may have been its pandemic-sparked expansion lasts well into this New Year.

Regardless of how long the pandemic itself lingers in 2021, here are several strategies you could pursue to help keep your company’s ecommerce growth going.

Use the RFM model

The recency, frequency and monetary value (RFM) model enables you to classify customers on account of their shopping behaviour. One way to put it into practice is by assigning each of your customers a score from 1 to 5 on the measures of how recently they have bought, how often and the average monetary value of their orders.

So, a customer who scores 555 should probably be in line for VIP treatment, while one with a 255 score may be tempted back to your online shop by an automated email or text message.

Use customer onboarding to build relationships

Customer onboarding can work with both new customers and those whose transactional habits at your online store have waned. In either instance, though, your objective would be to foster a relationship that encourages the customer to buy repeatedly from you in the longer term.

So, while onboarding for a new customer might involve them registering an account with your online store and subscribing to its content, trying to win back a former customer could entail messaging them privately to thank them for their last order and offering them a discount code redeemable on a future order.

Regularly publish fresh content to keep shoppers... content

How many times have you seen, in your email inbox, a message focused on a specific product? The mere sight of this kind of message has probably made you think “not spam again”. That’s why your marketing campaigns can’t be limited to product-specific pieces like these.

While it would not always be of the best use to your customers, content that touches on pain points in their everyday lives would come across as much less self-publicising. This content can comprise articles and videos, for which we can help you to select the right keywords.

Keyword research and guest blogging are among the services we include as standard with our search engine marketing (SEM) packages here at Piranha Designs. We can help you to choose between our Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum packages if you directly reach out to us in the UK or Gibraltar.

The lessons learned from the UK’s first ‘COVID-19 Christmas’

Julian Byrne - Friday, January 08, 2021

Yes, we know what you’re thinking; that reference to “first” is not an encouraging one. Nonetheless, no matter how long the coronavirus crisis lasts, the fact remains that we’ve learned a lot about the state of retail – online and offline, in the UK and beyond – over the last nine months.

Those lessons, in turn, can have implications for how you choose to tweak your brand’s e-tail presence during the year to come.

Some figures in relation to customer habits over the last few months are, of course, still filtering through. But on the basis of what we do already know, let’s look at some of the insights and conclusions we can draw from the ‘COVID Christmas’ just finished.

Ecommerce is (predictably) thriving

While it has to be the least revelatory development of the UK’s coronavirus-affected festive season, it’s worth reminding ourselves just how drastically the pandemic has helped to accelerate an existing drift towards online shopping.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Internet sales as a percentage of total retail sales had already long been on the up. The first nationwide lockdown, however, vaulted this percentage from 19.1% in February to 32.9% in May. For November – the month coinciding with the autumn lockdown in England – a new peak of 36% was achieved.

December saw the return of the tiered system of restrictions and the widespread reopening of non-essential retail on our high streets; it’s no wonder, then, that the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)’s monthly retail sales balance increased to -3 for that month.

The outlook for January, however, was a much bleaker -33. With much of England having been placed under tougher tier 4 rules for the New Year – bringing about the closure once more of non-essential retail – the ecommerce surge looks likely to continue well into 2021. That could mean even more opportunities for brands that have been optimising their online sales arms since March.

Not all e-tailers and product categories will have automatically done well

Unfortunately, some small businesses that attempted to maximise their online sales during the Christmas season are likely to have learned this particular lesson the hard way.

The fact is that even with the above apparent bonanza in ecommerce opportunities, COVID-19 didn’t just force us online – it also altered our buying habits, including in relation to Christmas gifts.

EBay data cited by CNBC, for example, indicated that gym equipment, board games and jigsaw puzzles saw strong sales in the UK in the run-up to the November lockdown. It therefore seems logical to expect such ‘indoorsy’ items to have been well-represented among popular gifts for Christmas 2020.

So, which product categories may have struggled during the festive period just gone, even for online sellers? Jonathan Pritchard, retail analyst at Peel Hunt, has suggested that “clothing faces the biggest problems because people are not going to Christmas parties”.

Keeping hold of customers is no less important than acquiring them

This particular insight isn’t likely to be a new one to a lot of the more experienced ecommerce brands. For those, however, who may have largely depended on a brick-and-mortar retail presence, only to be forced to largely switch their focus to online selling from March onwards, it’s a key mantra to take into 2021.

What are the key elements an ecommerce product page should have?

Julian Byrne - Monday, December 21, 2020

Whatever components you place on a product detail page in your online store, you will wish them to form an engrossing, cohesive whole that helps inform your customers’ buying decisions.

Here, then, is a rundown of the elements you ought to include as standard on each of your ecommerce site’s pages that focus on a given product from the store’s inventory.

Photography

Naturally, when shopping online, customers can’t physically handle a product and turn it over like they would have the option of doing in a traditional brick-and-mortar store.

That’s why each of your product pages should include an array of photos – we would advise about six to eight – that capture the item from multiple different angles.

A price and call to action

The “call to action”, in this instance, would refer to that trusty “buy now” or “add to basket” button – which you would obviously wish to tempt the shopper to click.

As one major factor that could sway the buyer in that direction is the product’s price, you should display this prominently – possibly right near the call-to-action button.

A written description and specifications

Somebody somewhere might have coined the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”, but they certainly didn’t own an online store. Besides, you wouldn’t want as many as a thousand words in the textual description and specifications you include on a product page.

That’s because those descriptions should be punchy, specific and easy to understand. In other words, they should get straight to the point – although you should still be careful to include relevant keywords, which our SEO marketing experts can help you to research.

Reviews

Of course, you wouldn’t write these yourself but instead invite customers to do so. However, these reviews should still be given a special space on your product page, as they can constitute a form of “social proof” that backs up your own claims about the item.

Even if it’s a relatively new product that has attracted few reviews so far on your site, those reviews can play a big part in telling the product’s story.

Are you unsure about any aspect of optimising your e-tail store’s product pages to appeal more strongly to shoppers and search engine spiders alike? If so, don’t forget that the friendly and professional Piranha Designs team is always available for a chat when you get in touch with us in Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh.


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