How to retain more of those festive-season customers once Christmas is over

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Of all of the seasons that could be declared a ‘time of plenty’ for e-tailers, the last few months of the calendar year are surely the most obvious candidate. It’s a time when customers are rushing to purchase goods from online stores that they may barely have any contact with at any other time of the year – so all will be well for your own ecommerce site, right?

Well, not necessarily. That’s because even if you do receive a great boost in your customer numbers over the festive period, if those shoppers then disappear for the rest of the year, you might be failing to capitalise on the opportunities the winter months present to keep hold of more of them.

Just look at the statistics

Various studies down the years have, after all, pointed to just modest improvements in customer retention potentially translating into significant increases in profit. One famous study from Bain & Company and Harvard Business School in 2000, for instance, found that upping customer retention by 5% could lead to profits going up by as much as 95%.

So, what steps could you take right now to bolster your own ecommerce store’s chances of keeping more of its festive-season customers coming back in January, February and beyond?

  • Actually measure your customer retention. Even if you do a great job of retaining a decent proportion of your festive-season shoppers long after their Christmas trees have been taken down, will you have any idea what things you did actually helped to bring about that increase? That’s why it’s well worth tracking your customer retention rate over time to identify trends – not just over the next few months, but for many more years to come.
  • Bring in a loyalty scheme. Even if you’re only just reading this in October, it’s not too late to introduce a loyalty programme that your Christmas shoppers will appreciate. Nor are these schemes just about giving your customers an added incentive to keep spending with you right through the year, as they can also serve as a useful means of capturing customer information and permission for marketing communications.
  • Send a personal note and offer. Presumably, if you’re reading this, you’re not a large and impersonal multinational – so why not make a virtue out of the fact that you’re a small business? Including a personal handwritten ‘thank you’ note in the package you send to each new customer will give another positive and heart-warming thing for the shopper to remember you by. That can be especially so if you throw in a discount voucher or the offer of free delivery for any future purchases they make from you.
  • Make the most of ecommerce subscriptions. Ecommerce subscriptions – otherwise known as ‘subscription boxes’ – can be great for boosting customer retention anyway, simply because they represent longer-term commitments from the customer than one-off purchases. But their suitability as Christmas gifts arguably further boosts their potential value and importance to your ecommerce store when you’re trying to capture more customers for the long run during the winter season.


It’s the little touches as much as the big ones that could particularly influence your store’s ability to keep hold of more of its customers for the months and years ahead. So, why not talk in more detail to the Piranha Designs team about what those touches could be?

Browse our range of website design and online marketing services today to get a sense of how we could transform your brand’s ecommerce effectiveness well into the 2020s, before calling or emailing us now at our Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh offices.

Your site won’t rank well if Google doesn’t even consider it a high-quality one

Piranha Designs - Monday, September 23, 2019

You might not exactly need to be told that Google places a big emphasis on ‘quality’ when adjusting the algorithms that ultimately determine how well sites rank in its search results. But how, exactly, does Google define ‘quality’? Well, that’s been a matter of longstanding confusion and frustration among many online business owners.

A recent Google blog post, however, shed considerable light on what the search engine considers to be ‘quality’ in a website.

Indeed, it listed a series of questions for those optimising their sites with a view to getting them to rank well, across the four subcategories of “content and quality”, “expertise”, “presentation and production” and “comparative”.

So, let’s summarise what Google addressed in the questions it came up with, so that you can make the tweaks your own site might need to achieve strong rankings.

Content and quality

Google’s questions in this subcategory – including “Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?” and “Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book” – show a concern for genuine quality in the content that a given site publishes.

If your site’s content pieces thoroughly analyse relevant topics from multiple angles, incorporating original information or research beyond the obvious things that plenty of other sites are already saying, you can expect Google to give you high rankings in response.

Expertise

It isn’t exactly a secret that Google places a big emphasis on authority when ranking sites, and that this has been addressed in its algorithms, with inbound links conferring authority based on the linking sites’ own topic and quality.

However, your site’s content and the authors who write it also impact on your site’s authority in the eyes of Google. Do the people writing your content, then, have positive reputations and prominence in your industry? Are they active on other sites and platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, and are they regulars on relevant industry forums?

If the answer to too many of these questions is “no”, these are aspects that you might wish to develop in the authors who contribute to your site.

Presentation and production

If Google is even addressing the subjects of presentation and production in its definition of quality, these can hardly be regarded as merely ‘superficial’ matters.

In any case, they should never have been considered to be ‘superficial’ by anyone. After all, should you expect to be able to win the trust of both shoppers and search engines if there are misspellings or grammatical errors on your site?

In its blog piece, Google presented a number of presentation and production questions that were especially interesting with regard to what could trigger manual penalties or lower algorithmic rankings.

These included “Does the content have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content”, and “Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?”

Comparative

Finally, Google also put forth a few comparative questions, focused on how well a site compares to its rivals in terms of quality.

It’s well worth bearing in mind, after all, that your site doesn’t need to be perfect to achieve strong rankings – it just needs to be better than the sites it’s competing with for certain keyword phrases.

Is SEO quality a subject that has been concerning you as you look to optimise your site for better rankings in the months and years ahead? If so, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Piranha Designs team.

We provide acclaimed search engine marketing packages that will help your brand to ensure consistently great quality across every key aspect of its presence on the web.

These 5 simple changes to your product pages could transform your sales

Piranha Designs - Friday, August 23, 2019


Many of us are familiar with the tactic that brick-and-mortar stores often use of placing items at the eye level of the likely customer to help to tempt them into purchasing. So, is this a strategy that you can also adopt for your ecommerce site?

The truth is... yes and no. Adjusting your shopping site’s product pages to lure prospective buyers often isn’t as simple as it might seem to be.

However, there are still certain relatively straightforward things that you can do to encourage visitors to complete their journey from casual browsers to committed buyers, such as the below.

Use fixed headers and footers

These are the elements at the top and bottom of a page that remain fixed in place even while the visitor scrolls up and down; it’s an especially powerful feature on the smaller screens of smartphones. Maybe such a header or footer could be just the place to put an ever-present ‘add to cart’ icon or reminder of the free shipping that you offer on all orders of more than £50?

Indicate the scarcity of your products

All that it takes are some simple icons and text to convey to the user that there isn’t many of a certain item left, thereby instilling some urgency in them to complete the purchase.

Ensure a consistent amount of white space

If the primary images for your products vary widely in terms of the amount of white space they have surrounding them – perhaps because one image supplied by the manufacturer shows the item relatively far away from the camera, while the manufacturer’s image for another product shows it up close – such inconsistency might not be helping you to close sales for certain goods.

You might therefore wish to take steps to ensure a more consistent amount of white space across your main product images, such as by more tightly cropping particular images.

Make a fuss about the item’s popularity

Stating that a given product is popular isn’t merely you ‘hyping it up’ more than it deserves – indeed, it may actually be a reasonable and accurate reflection of how sought-after that item is, thereby helping your customers in their buying decisions.

Advertise special offers and other sweeteners around the ‘add to cart’ button

Once the shopper’s cursor is hovering near that ‘add to cart’ button, you’ve got them (almost) in the palm of your hand. So, why not push them into clicking by making it irresistible for them with surrounding text highlighting the free delivery that the store offers for this product, or the extra goodies the buyer will get for free if they input a provided voucher code?

There you have it – some modest tweaks that could make a vital extra contribution to bolstering your site’s sales. As for how you can begin to discuss the overall shape your ecommerce store should take, why not get in touch with Piranha Designs’ experts in ecommerce websites today?

Is your ecommerce site doing enough to attract Generation Z?

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Are you already exhausted of trying to suss out what the Millennial market wants from your online store? Well, unfortunately, your work is hardly over even once you have, thanks to the recent emergence of another demographic – Generation Z – that differs markedly in several key ways even from Millennials.

Why does it matter to cater specifically to this generation?

It would be so easy to think of Generation Z – which tends to be roughly defined as those born between 1995 and 2010 – as simply a younger subset of the Millennial generation.

However, the oldest Millennials – a group born between around the early 1980s and the late 1990s – are now nearing their 40s, whereas the oldest Generation Zers are only now entering their early 20s. That makes for a very real difference in terms of the perspective that these generations have on the world around them, not least as Generation Z is the first ‘digital-native’ generation.

While many Millennials knew of a world before easy and widespread access to the World Wide Web, with even the youngest of them born well before Apple unveiled its first iPhone, Generation Zers are not only digital natives – they’re also ‘mobile-first’ social media natives, many of them not even owning a desktop computer.

What the statistics indicate for your ecommerce store

Now, you might imagine that given the above background, you’ll need to place a greater emphasis on a slick mobile ecommerce experience if you are to attract Generation Zers, than was even the case for the also tech-proficient Millennial generation. You’d be right, too – but the statistics also paint a picture of a generation with a slightly complex relationship with online and offline shopping.

For example, while a report provided to Marketing Dive revealed that three quarters of Generation Zers prefer to do most of their shopping online when they can out of convenience, 80% said they looked forward to shopping in stores when they had the time.

Furthermore, the report showed signs of the frustration that many Generation Z shoppers can often feel with the mobile ecommerce experience, 38% saying it was difficult to find what they needed online, and 35% expressing discomfort with the notion of even making purchases online.

On this subject, it is important to note that Generation Zers are associated with a tendency to value experiences over material things, which in many ways, transfers to their expectations of ecommerce shopping. This is a generation that values a swift, slick and even interactive experience when they purchase online, not unlike that provided by the social media sites to which they are so accustomed.

All of this is likely to inform many of the decisions that you make about the design of your ecommerce store when you work with a trusted web design agency like Piranha Designs.

Get talking to us now about your website design needs

Would you like to partner with highly skilled and experienced specialists when the time comes to refresh or overhaul the design of your website, or to create a comprehensive ecommerce presence from scratch? In that case, the Piranha Designs team stands ready to assist.

Give our friendly and seasoned professionals a call today for a no-obligation discussion of your requirements from your next ecommerce site, whatever the generation to which your brand is most trying to appeal.

Are you overlooking the importance of unique product descriptions?

Piranha Designs - Monday, May 06, 2019

It’s curious, in many ways, that product descriptions seem to be a ‘blind spot’ for a large proportion of ecommerce businesses. By ‘blind spot’, we’re referring to the fact that so few such product descriptions seem to be unique, despite it being widely recognised how much harm content duplicated from elsewhere can do to a site’s search engine rankings.

After all, when multiple pages have the same content, competition is created between those pages that damages the chances of any of them ranking in the search engine results.

However, we’re normally used to talking about duplicate content as content that repeats itself across a single site. Many of us aren’t so accustomed to discussing the problem of syndicated product descriptions also producing duplicate content across the web as a whole – or more specifically, giving your site the same on-page content as its ecommerce rivals.

So, what has led to this unfortunate situation, and what can be done about it?

The role of the major brands and manufacturers

Let’s imagine that your brand is one of the world’s biggest, such as Adidas. It’s likely that you won’t feel you have much to lose from resellers using your product content, given that your own site is likely to have almost unparalleled link authority and contextual relevance for your products.

In any case, of course Google is almost certainly going to rank you higher for online searches of your products, than the thousands of retailers stocking them. Yours is the megabrand, after all.

Retailers can reap major rewards from composing their own content

Now, if you’re a relatively small ecommerce business using syndicated content from these megabrands for their products, you might initially imagine it to be too big a risk, or otherwise problematic, to have unique content created for your product descriptions.

What if, for instance, you accidentally misrepresent a product in a description that you write, and find yourself receiving a heightened number of customer support queries, complaints and returns as a result? Plus, it can be very costly in terms of time and money to keep on creating such unique descriptions for all of the products that you are likely to be continually adding to your site.

However, given that the highest-ranking ecommerce businesses are consistently those with unique product descriptions – not merely reworded, but actually with innovative and fresh angles compared to whatever basic information the brand has already provided – it makes sense to look seriously at creating such content for your own site.

Your unique product descriptions might go into greater detail about the historical context of each product than the standard syndicated copy does, or they may clearly and plainly outline the benefits of certain technology that the given product uses. Blocks of text may also be converted into bullet points for easier reading.

You don’t need to look far for help with your brand’s online presence

Are you interested in investigating further with us how our team here at Piranha Designs can assist you in realising the maximum potential from your site’s ecommerce web design and SEO marketing? If so, we’re available on the other end of the phone; simply get in touch with us at our Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh offices today for more information.

Picture this: tips for optimising images to make them Google-ready

Piranha Designs - Friday, May 03, 2019

In your efforts to carefully tailor your site's on-page text content in such a way that draws Google's positive notice, you could be in danger of overlooking how much of Google's search results pages are now being taken up by imagery. Indeed, Google search results now include images on 34% of occasions.

In just weeks, image results have grown by 42% on the world's most popular search engine, as per a recent study. Those results have increased in both frequency and prominence – about half the time, the images are among the first three positions.

While you may initially see such developments as cause for alarm, SEO has always continued to experiment and adapt over time. For this reason, you should regard the increasingly visual nature of Google search results as an opportunity rather than an obstacle.

Do keywords still come into play with images?

The perhaps surprising answer is that yes, they do. While images lack visible text compared to website pages with their textual content, you can start optimising an image by tweaking its filename, into which you should try to insert unique descriptions and attributes.

For example, if you run an e-commerce site selling swimwear, an image of blue Speedo shorts could be beneficially given the filename blue-speedo-shorts.jpg, as all three elements of that filename could be plausibly inputted into search fields.

Naturally, though, if you sell blue Speedo shorts, you probably sell a very broad range of swimwear, which is where tinkering with the alt tags attached to your images can also prove useful. In these tags, you should mention points of differentiation; for example, the specific colour of the shorts, if you offer them in various hues.

Your website's text copy still plays a part, too

Unexpectedly or otherwise, the visible text near an image on a page can also influence the image's placing in search results. Across captions, product names, descriptive bullets and other textual elements near the image, you shouldn’t neglect to include more details relevant to it.

If you remain unsure as to which keywords should go where when you are optimising your images, our search engine optimisation (SEO) services can steer you in the right direction. We invite you to phone us on (+350) 200 45599 for more information on this point.

You don’t necessarily need to discount your store’s products to sell more

Piranha Designs - Thursday, March 21, 2019

A lot of small businesses like those that we serve with our ecommerce website design services here at Piranha Designs can understandably become so worked up about bolstering their conversions of traffic into sales, that they might not pay enough attention to the overall impact this has on profit.

Yes, offering money-off vouchers, limited-time-only discounts and simply undercutting your competitors with the standard prices that you set could all help to boost sales.

However, you might have overlooked that doing so will also mean a lot more work for your company, in terms of the work needed to fulfil the heightened number of orders you receive.

You may therefore be especially interested in the ways you can drive sales from your ecommerce store without having to cut prices at all. Here are just a few proven suggestions.

Set out the unique selling points of your brand and products

If you spend any amount of time browsing the sites of luxury brands, you may have noticed that they don’t tend to offer discounts very often, or even necessarily a coupon code box on the checkout page.

You might imagine that the sheer pull of a prestigious brand means it doesn’t exactly have to put on special offers very often. However, another way to see it is that customers are prepared to spend more if they see a certain unique or added value in what a firm offers.

You should therefore ask yourself what especially high-quality materials or ingredients given products of yours consist of, and that customers may be willing to pay a premium for. Or perhaps your product solves problems in a way that not many alternatives do? Maybe the breadth and depth of your customer support is especially great compared to rivals, too?

Instil urgency in the customer

Incorporating simple, non-invasive messages that also have a sense of urgency into your product marketing can further encourage customers to fork out for the full price of something. This is especially applicable to trendy and limited-edition products that have a relatively committed target audience, who won’t wish to miss out on the latest ‘hot’ release.

Streamline the buying process

Everything that you can do to speed up and remove bumps from the online purchasing process is vital if you are to keep a buyer’s interest for long enough to see them through to the final checkout stage. Finding, adding and ordering products should be a cinch – otherwise, you are heightening the risk of cart abandonment.

Keep delivery charges as low as possible

Fair enough – when you’re a small company, you don’t necessarily have the luxury of reducing shipping fees to nothing. However, a flat-rate method could still be greatly useful for leaving your customers in no doubt about how much they will be required to pay at the checkout. It’s worth bearing in mind, though, that free delivery is especially frequently offered on higher-priced products – so a ‘free delivery on orders over £50’ or similar policy could help you to compete.

You can’t, of course, expect to attract every possible buyer of your products if they are focused on price above all else. Nonetheless, the above tips and other measures for better presenting your store’s offerings could be invaluable for raising profits, irrespective of whether you also engage Piranha Designs to handle the design of your ecommerce website.

5 micro conversions that will help to cultivate customer loyalty and trust

Piranha Designs - Thursday, March 07, 2019

The statistics on the typical British customer’s relationship with offline and online shopping makes increasingly ominous reading for the high street. Whereas in 2013, only about one pound in every 10 was spent in online rather than offline stores, this has since risen to about one in five pounds. 

With the news headlines indicating that even many of the UK’s biggest high-street names are still struggling to keep afloat, it seems the aforementioned proportion of online expenditure could be on the up for many more years yet. 

This also presents a real opportunity to ecommerce website owners – not least given that it isn’t only the ‘big’ conversions of actual sales that matter. Even all manner of smaller conversions can count, given their role in the lead-up to bigger ones. 

So, it’s well worth investing the time and effort to boost ‘micro conversions’ such as the below. 

Signing up for emails 

Email may be one of the oldest means of making contact with others online, but it’s far from archaic or irrelevant in 2019. Indeed, you probably check your own emails several times a day, and the average customer does so, too. 

Registering for rewards 

Even the most rudimentary rewards, loyalty or VIP scheme can make a big difference to an ecommerce site. After all, it’s just one more way to encourage larger conversions and make the customer more likely to choose you as their go-to store for certain staple products. 

Saving for later purchase 

The customer may not have the most pressing need for your product right now, or they may be waiting to get paid before they will be in a position to do so. A ‘save for later’ function on your site, though, can be another effective way of capturing customers and heightening the likelihood of repeat visits. 

Following, liking or sharing on social media 

Embedding social media into your ecommerce site – including through the incorporation of actionable ‘share’ buttons on your product pages and even blog posts – can go a long way to deepening the relationships you enjoy with current customers and connecting to new ones. 

Using online contact forms 

If your customer has gone as far as manually getting in touch with you via the contact form you have provided for them on your site, you can be confident that they are very receptive to making a purchase from you – even if there are certain matters they need to resolve before doing so. 

The accumulative effect of micro conversions like the above across your target customer base can be extremely powerful as you look to maximise your brand’s prospects online, including by encouraging repeat purchases. As online spending continues to account for an ever-greater proportion of the UK’s retail spending, you could be sitting pretty if you take the right steps to optimise your site. 

Enquire to the Piranha Designs team today about ecommerce web design to place yourself advantageously to make big strides with your business’s online presence throughout 2019.

5 elements that any product video on your website should have

Piranha Designs - Monday, January 21, 2019

Video has gained considerably in prominence as an online marketing medium in recent years. Whereas it may have once been little more than a supporting element, for many customers browsing an ecommerce site, it may now be the primary device through which they learn the basics about a given product and what it does.

However, it’s still perfectly possible for a product video to be posted on your site that does little or nothing to boost sales. In short, just uploading a video isn’t enough – it also needs to be the right video. That means it’ll need to boast the below characteristics and components.

A clear and concise message

Does your product video hook in the shopper by telling them precisely why they need the product? Any fluff in your video can be fatal to your chances of actually selling the product. This is a medium through which to communicate purposeful facts, in a running time of one minute or less.

An opening that grabs attention

Those browsing your store in search of a product don’t usually have much time to waste. Your video should therefore make clear straight away, what problem the given product fixes. The intro should be all about being relatable to your customers – otherwise, they’ll quickly hit that browser ‘back’ button.

Compelling and evocative content

Of course, the tone that your product video should have is likely to be greatly dictated by the product itself and your target audience. However, emotion is a powerful force driving many purchases. You therefore need to consider what is most important to your target customers, and then play on it in your product video.

References to the user’s pain point

A good product is all about resolving a problem – in other words, alleviating a customer’s pain point, or even several. This means a great product video will discuss at least one such pain point, perhaps by showing a customer struggling in a certain hypothetical situation, and then finding their problem to be solved by use of the product. It’s best not to overdo the number of pain points you discuss, however, so that you don’t muddle your product video’s overall message.

A decisive call to action

It’s worth remembering that with video having come to prominence online alongside the rise of optimised mobile websites like those that we create here at Piranha Designs, there’s a good chance that a large proportion of those viewing your video will be doing so via the small screen of a smartphone. This makes it all the more vital for your video’s call to action to be eye-catching and clear, perhaps achieved with specific instructions or icons that the user can tap.

Are you looking to bolster your online business’s fortunes with a brand new website design during 2019? If so, the Piranha Designs team would be delighted to hear you – feel free to contact us via our Gibraltar, Edinburgh or London offices today.

What could be stopping your ecommerce site’s visitors from buying?

Piranha Designs - Friday, December 21, 2018

The festive season is a period when you will want to see high conversion rates from your ecommerce store; the truth is, however, that even a strong-performing online shop can improve in some respects.

Fortunately, some of the reasons for any faltering conversions may be obvious to you; you may already know that your current checkout process is cumbersome, for example, or that your delivery costs are high compared to obvious rivals. Sometimes, overly restrictive returns policies can be harmful as well.

However, customers can also be deterred from purchasing from you by seemingly minor, ‘easy-to-overlook’ issues. Here are just a few that you may look to fix.

Colours that are harsh on the eye

Yes, even a site’s colour scheme can cause a visitor to spend less time browsing it than would otherwise be the case – and that means potentially lost sales.

Is your site largely decked out in a less popular colour – such as brown or yellow – that could be putting off visitors? Maybe the overall colour scheme is a bit unsightly, or there are clashing combinations of colours in various crucial parts of the site, such as its navigation menus and buttons?

Standard manufacturer descriptions

Guess what? Manufacturers have an interest in making their own product look like the best in its industry, so their own product descriptions can feature more than a little hyperbole.

Indeed, the typically highly sales-focused vibe of manufacturers’ own product descriptions can even sometimes fail to provide a clear outline of what the item is and how it could benefit the customer.

By writing your own site’s product descriptions, you could therefore do a lot to engage your particular visitors and give them the information and insight that they most need.

Typos, poor grammar and run-on sentences

Most of us naturally stop when we encounter an obvious spelling or grammatical error in a piece of text. It’s especially glaring on an ecommerce site, as it would normally be presumed that you have the professionalism to at least proofread the content on your site before making it ‘live’.

Also be sure to avoid especially long sentences that can be difficult to quickly read and understand.

Substandard photos and videos

The photos and videos that you use to advertise your stocked products should clearly show the item in question, not least so that the prospective buyer can easily understand what it is.

Remember that smartphone and tablet users – who make up an especially large proportion of online shoppers today – will frequently wish to pinch to zoom for a closer look at a given item. You should therefore ensure they can easily do this on your own site, even if you already provide a dedicated zoom feature.

To find out more about how Piranha Designs’ expertise in ecommerce website design could make all of the difference to your brand’s efforts to significantly bolster its conversions during 2019, simply email or get on the phone to our Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh offices.


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