Do the physical locations of your ecommerce customers really matter?

Piranha Designs - Thursday, March 05, 2020

While some observers might think the answer to this question would be automatically “no”, geography does make a difference to ecommerce conversions – and there are various ways your own online store could make the most of the locations your customers are shopping from.

You’re probably already broadly aware of the counties, regions or even other countries where your shoppers reside. Buyers need to provide this information about themselves at the checkout stage, and it can also be seen in Google Analytics when Enhanced Ecommerce is enabled.

It’s much less likely, however, that you will have given much thought to how you could incorporate geographical variables into your marketing campaigns. By first knowing how to evaluate which locations are performing best with regard to such factors as sales, number of transactions and profitability, you’ll be able to target audiences with your marketing much more effectively.

As for what causes what might be very significant performance differences from one region to another, below are some of the factors to bear in mind – and how your brand might adjust its marketing approaches accordingly.

  • Marketing costs. It might cost you more to reach a customer from, for example, London, than from York, such as if you are running a Google Ads campaign. So, if you know your total sales and marketing cost for each region, you might calculate the relative cost per conversion for each of those localities, and therefore profitability. It may be that you get more transactions from your London customers, for example, but that your York shoppers give you greater overall profit.
  • Products. The products or product types of yours that are most popular might noticeably vary from one region to another. Even drilling down to certain product attributes such as colour, size and materials, you may see significantly differing preferences, which could have big implications for your regional marketing efforts.
  • Population. Touching a bit on what we said above, you might gain more sales from certain cities, towns or regions, simply because they are the most populous. That’s why you might gain greater insight into the true levels of demand for your products on a region-by-region basis, if you divide the number of customers in each region by its total population. When you do, you may find that you’re getting poor value for money out of your marketing in one locality, but that you could benefit from upping your marketing spend in other regions.
  • Household income. You’re likely to get a greater lifetime value (LTV) out of customers situated in geographical areas where the level of disposable household income is higher. So, checking which regions command the highest average household income could help you to direct your marketing towards more profitable localities. Statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), for example, indicate that as of 2017, London had gross disposable household income (GDHI) per head of £27,825 on average; the equivalent figure for Wales, meanwhile, was a much lower £15,754.

When we draw attention to the above geographical factors, we aren’t saying that other demographics – such as age and gender – aren’t important. Those factors should be considered by ecommerce site owners as well, and can provide even greater insight into the customer buying patterns that help the savviest merchants to direct their marketing expenditure more effectively.

Give the Piranha Designs team a call now, whether at our Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh offices, and we’ll be pleased to have a chat with you about our various website design, SEO and marketing services that could make a significant difference to your brand’s success in 2020.

Are you adequately considering how and where customers use your mobile ecommerce site?

Piranha Designs - Friday, February 21, 2020

A key element of the website design process, is that of broadly assuming various ways, contexts and settings in which someone might use the site in question. But have you given enough thought to how these scenarios may vary when it comes to visitors to your mobile site?

Generally speaking, any given time someone visits your mobile ecommerce site, one of three scenarios is likely to be the case: they’re probably waiting for something to happen, on a break at work, or relaxing at home.

These different situations have varying implications for users’ experience of the site, why they are visiting in the first place, what problems they are looking to solve, and how you can capture them.

What do we mean by ‘waiting for something to happen’?

You’ve probably found yourself in this situation plenty of times yourself, when you’ve suddenly come up with an idea for something, and performed a Google search for a related term.

In this scenario, the user is only typically focusing for about five to 10 minutes, and isn’t interested in actually buying a product – or at least, not right now. Instead, they’re simply putting together a mental list of ideas, perhaps including potential stores and products for their given problem.

To appeal to these visitors, then, you’ll need to provide them with obvious opportunities to connect with you – via social media or email, for instance – in ways that don’t involve actually purchasing a product.

Then, once they have connected with you in one or more of these ways, you will be able to more easily reconnect them on future occasions when they are considering buying.

Then, there are those work break-time situations...

Many of us are familiar with those potentially dull break or lunch-times in the office. We want a bit of inspiration or escapism – something to lift the boredom after a tough work shift or conversation with a colleague. A person in this scenario is looking for something to excite them, and that they can follow up on later.

This type of visitor to your mobile site probably won’t have a specific goal in mind. So, you might engage these potential customers with something like a ‘new ideas’ or ‘discovery’ section of your site, regularly updated with new products or suggestions.

...and those idle moments at home

Finally, there’s the kind of visitor who ends up on your site during what may be the quietest time of their day. Think of those people who may be sat in front on their sofa at home with a football match in the background, but who’re also idly browsing ecommerce stores on their smartphone, looking for that product they may have been recently thinking about.

Now, this is the type of customer who is likely to be interested in actually buying in the moment. So for you, this situation may well be about completing the sale, instead of merely relieving their boredom or giving them some inspiration.

Such customers are likelier to ‘go in for the kill’ with a purchase if your site is quick-loading, responsive, informative and convenient to use. So, don’t just focus on optimising loading times – also make sure you have a facility for capturing and updating reviews, of both your products and your site in general, that will help to move the relaxed visitor closer to that ‘buy’ button.

When such reviews are further complemented by an easy-to-refer-to list of accepted payment methods for a purchase and the ability to ‘save’ a shopping cart, you’ll be maximising the probability of the chilled-out shopper at home actually buying.

Remember that if you have any other questions or concerns about how your brand can get the most out of its own mobile e-tail presence in 2020, the Piranha Designs team is always ready and waiting to provide advice from our offices in Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh. Or why not request a competitive quote for our complete ground-up mobile website design service?

How might you tweak your mobile site search this festive shopping season?

Piranha Designs - Friday, November 29, 2019

This time of year is inevitably one when ecommerce sites like yours will be flooded with traffic from those looking to purchase Christmas gifts – and do you know what feature will particularly help them to narrow down the options your store offers, thereby taking them one step closer to converting?

Yep, that’s right; a ‘site search’ function. Indeed, even if you have such a facility on your site already, there’s always scope to improve it – especially if a large proportion of your visitors are discovering your site via their smartphones.

Mobile site search isn’t quite the same as desktop site search

Now, it’s important to appreciate that getting your mobile site search right doesn’t involve simply doing all of the things you would do to improve your desktop site search, merely on a smaller screen.

After all, there are certain issues applicable to mobile site search that don’t apply, as strongly or at all, to desktop site search – particularly given the frequently ‘on the go’ nature of the mobile experience.

On a desktop site, for instance, it’s likely that any site-search feature will include a visible, open search box, like the one that greets you whenever you load up Google. But on the much smaller screen of a mobile, this may be an ill-advised use of limited space, thereby making it wiser for you to simply include a search icon – usually a magnifying glass – for the visitor to tap.

Another thing that’s really important with mobile site search is to ensure everything loads nice and quickly. Many of your smartphone-wielding visitors may be using the often iffy Wi-Fi connections in public places like bus and railway stations, so it’s a good idea to optimise the images that appear in mobile search on your site to be as lightweight as possible.

What other steps might you take to optimise site-search results?

There’s a lot more than the above that you can do to make the mobile site-search experience on your site feel as effortless and convenient as it should be.

The search results page should certainly be one key focus for optimisation, given how slow and cumbersome these can often be on mobile. Good tips here include restricting search results to 20 items at a time to shorten loading times, while also enabling endless scrolling.

The latter means that instead of the shopper needing to load a new results page once they’ve reached the end of those aforementioned 20 items, a further 20 items will automatically appear as they scroll down.

Oh, and you might want to eliminate relatively superfluous information, like ratings, from your mobile search results as well. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to just stick to absolutely essential information here, such as the product name and price – again, in the name of bolstering usability and loading speeds.

There’s so much more that we could do for your site experience

As mobile continues to play an ever-more fundamental role in how prospective customers engage with ecommerce brands like yours online, it’s never been more crucial to refine every last detail of the experience your site gives to smartphone and tablet users.

This is precisely what we can help you with here at Piranha Designs – so why wait any longer to contact us about our knowhow in the finer points of ecommerce and mobile website design?

The benefits Google’s BERT update could bring for your ecommerce store’s product pages

Piranha Designs - Thursday, October 31, 2019

It may be easy to become overwhelmed by the abundance of acronyms in the world of SEO (‘SEO’ itself being just one of them), but that doesn’t mean Google’s recently released BERT algorithm should be ignored.

Indeed, this particular open-source update – its letters standing for the rather catchy Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers – could be a particularly significant one for your ecommerce site’s product pages, given its focus on better understanding the intent of search queries.

So, what does BERT actually do?

Reading the above, you may wonder whether BERT is the replacement for RankBrain, which was Google’s 2015 effort to understand searcher intent. As it happens, it isn’t a replacement, with the two instead working simultaneously to decode what a user means when they perform a particular search, and giving them more relevant results accordingly.

While it isn’t the only thing that BERT does, a particular strength of the update compared to previous ones is the more sophisticated way it evaluates prepositions like “to” and “with”.

Among the examples Google provided of how BERT makes a difference was the query “2019 brazil traveller to usa needs visa”.

As human readers, we can easily understand that the person performing this search was probably someone from Brazil enquiring about how to obtain a visa to the United States. However, search results pre-BERT would also provide pages for US citizens interested in travelling to Brazil, which would obviously not meet the requirements of this specific searcher.

What should all of this mean for your ecommerce site?

Such an improved understanding of prepositions could have real positive implications for an ecommerce store wishing to attract more targeted traffic through long-tail queries.

After all, users looking for particular products online often include many specific details in their queries. Searches that use lots of such details and prepositions – for example, “red record player with speakers” or “basswood window shutters with green finish” – are likely to yield a higher proportion of truly relevant results now that BERT has arrived.

Now is the time, then, to consider how you can adjust your ecommerce site’s SEO to make the most of BERT. This should be the case across not only the product detail pages themselves, but also the filtered product grids that arise on your site due to the wealth of product attributes, such as colour, size and material, that you allow shoppers to toggle between when searching.

By citing a greater number of more specific attributes on your product pages and elsewhere around your site, you can help to put your ecommerce store in a strong position to tap into the power of BERT as you look to the busy festive shopping season and beyond.

In fact, why not have a more detailed discussion about this and other aspects of your site’s SEO with our search marketing professionals here at Piranha Designs today? It’s easy to contact us via our Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh offices, and it could help to make a big difference to the effectiveness of your brand’s online presence in the months and years ahead.


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