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.

Could your ecommerce site's search functionality be improved?

Piranha Designs - Monday, December 17, 2018

It's difficult to think of many more important elements of a shopping site's design than its search features. We say 'features' rather than 'feature', because we aren't necessarily just talking about the keyword search box – the likes of category browsing and faceted search can also be key elements. 

In case you're wondering what those latter two features are, the first should be fairly self-explanatory – it refers to when users select categories on your website and then continue working through subcategories to narrow down the items they are interested in. 

Faceted search should also be very familiar to you. It's all about the various filters – such as size, length, colour and brand – that ecommerce sites customarily use to help shoppers to get to the products that are of greatest relevance to them. 

There are, though, many ways to optimise site search 

You shouldn't underestimate the complexity and sophistication of site search technology these days – but also the relative ease with which you can start improving this aspect of your ecommerce portal, as long as you know which components to focus on. 

It's worth scrutinising, to start with, how your site search currently uses synonyms and substitute terms. If your site is an online health food store, for example, people won't necessarily look for food supplements simply by typing in the term 'food supplements'; others could be 'health supplements', 'nutritional supplements' or perhaps something slightly more specific, like 'digestive supplements'.

Remember, too, that there are also differences in the terminology used from one industry to the next. Your visitors may perform searches for popular acronyms, abbreviations or even slang terms that lead to a zero results page, despite the products they are seeking being available on your site.

Misspellings can easily happen too, which leaves you with a decision to make: just how tolerant should your site search be to them? You could optimise your search functionality to account for one or two letters in a search term being incorrect, which could increase the number of results produced from a user's search, but also risks decreasing their relevancy.  

Then, there are such features as predictive search and type-ahead that have become 'in-vogue' on ecommerce sites in recent times. These elements can be instrumental in making life easier for your prospective customers by giving them product, category and keyword suggestions as they type. 

Get on the phone to Piranha Designs about a complete new ecommerce site design 

Is the state of your site's search functionality just one aspect in which you consider your brand's present ecommerce presence to be below-par? In that case, it may be the best decision to invest in one of our comprehensive shopping site design packages, which are offered at a range of highly competitive price points and give you full Content Management System (CMS) functionality. 

We can also undertake exacting bespoke designs if you prefer. So, why not enquire about the possibilities to the Piranha Designs team right now?

5 things to include in your retail website’s footer

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, August 22, 2018

One element of your retail site that you may almost forget about – and not even see on other sites unless you’re scrolling down to find the bottom of the page – is its footer.

But this bottom section of your site isn’t just somewhere to put all of the links and content that you may not have been able to fit in elsewhere. In short, you’ll need to make conscious decisions on what will be contained within your site’s footer.

Here are just some items that are especially common in website footers, and which you may therefore decide to include in yours.

Social media links

The importance of your retail website interfacing seamlessly – or almost seamlessly – with your brand’s social media presence should never be underestimated.

Links to your firm’s pages on such platforms as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram may therefore be invaluable for alerting those looking at the bottom of your pages to the opportunities to continue engaging with your brand, even once they have left your site.

Job openings

The footer is an obvious place for many of those who have perused your site to hit their browser ‘back’ button. Including information about the latest job openings – even if this simply amounts to a ‘Careers’ link – could therefore be another great way to keep them interested and on your site.

A link to your site map

Could some visitors to your site do with a refresher of what pages your site consists of, and where they can be found? After all, the given person looking at your footer may have ended up there after unsuccessfully searching for a particular page on your site through the main navigation system.

Trust, certification and accreditation badges

Has your site been formally approved by a well-known and reputable body? Perhaps it has gained some form of external accreditation or certification that you feel could convince a lingering prospective buyer to go ahead and place an order?

Links to your terms and conditions and privacy policy

These are the mundane, but informative pages of your site that will likely reassure the customer about such matters as how your store uses their personal information and how they are entitled to use various parts of your site. Remember that these are vital pages for filling in gaps in knowledge left by your Frequently Asked Questions and similar sections, and it’s almost a given to the average customer that your terms and conditions and privacy policy links will be in the footer.

Do you want to have your very own ‘mini Amazon’ that will bring your brand impressive performance and ease of use for years to come, while driving ever-greater customer numbers? If so, our team here at Piranha Designs would be delighted to talk to you about our in-depth know-how in ecommerce website design, and advise you on which of our packages may be right for you.

Does your ecommerce site clearly communicate why the customer should bother?

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, June 12, 2018

There are a lot of things that could greatly help to get more of your website’s visitors purchasing from you – a steady stream of insightful blog posts, for example, or a more intuitive navigation system. However, even many of these things may not be as impactful as they ought to be, if your target audience doesn’t understand or like your value propositions.

If you’re wondering, “what’s a value proposition?”, allow us to explain – it’s the benefits of a particular product or service of yours, minus the costs. When we say ‘costs’, we don’t necessarily just mean the asking price; the economic risk, time or resource investment required should also be factored in.

Think from the perspective of the buyer

Even the above definition is a little seller-centric, which may not aid clear thinking, given that it’s the individual buyer you’re supposed to be appealing to with your value proposition.

After all, the value proposition of a given product or service varies from one potential purchaser to another, because there may be certain features a buyer needs, and certain features they don’t. Plus, buyers tend to think in terms of a product or service’s pros and cons, rather than benefits and costs.

It’s handy, though, to consider value proposition from both a seller and buyer perspective, to give yourself a complete picture.

So, how can you communicate those ‘pros’?

Take a look at your company’s website. You might be offering more technical or complex products or services that can be difficult to explain. Have you communicated the value propositions for them, including what each product or service actually is?

There might even be key benefits of your product or service that you haven’t mentioned on your website. It’s for this reason that it is well worth sitting down and listing all of the elements of value that buyers get, before checking that your site clearly conveys each and every one.

You might also consider whether your site makes it obvious what happens once the buyer hits the ‘order’ button. This can be an especially important element if your business offers services rather than products. A diagram or flowchart could therefore be useful for leaving your target customer in no doubt about the process, and how it will begin to benefit them straight away.

Our expertise in ecommerce web design here at Piranha Designs could be instrumental in boosting your firm’s sales online this year. Highly rated packages are available at various price points to ensure you receive the right website design at a price that makes sense for your company.

A few steps you can take to make your site more accessible

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Accessibility can be a tricky subject for many online business owners to get to grips with, what with all of the complexity inherent in how screen readers and voice command applications work.

The good news, though, is that you don’t necessarily need an in-depth appreciation of accessibility principles to tweak your site to be usable by as broad an audience as possible. In fact, the following steps can go a long way towards accomplishing that.

Make your buttons standard HTML

Buttons are vital for triggering actions on your site. Such actions may include sending messages, saving progress and opening panels, among other things, but it’s important to remember that it is buttons that make such actions possible.

It’s therefore also vital that the broadest range of visitors to your site can make use of its buttons. That’s why you should ensure your buttons are always standard HTML buttons. These are the buttons that are natively usable from the keyboard, with the browser and operating system already knowing what to do with such a button element.

Ensure your site’s links are only ever links

Links serve a specific purpose on your site, much like buttons do, although that purpose naturally differs: they take you somewhere. You can also use them natively from the keyboard – again, just like buttons.

Does that mean it’s a good idea to use a link to perform some of your site’s button-like actions? The short answer to that is “no”.

While a sighted user may not be able to differentiate between an actual HTML button and a link that merely resembles a button, the screen reader will tell its user exactly whether the element is a link or a button. The user may therefore expect the element to behave like a link, rather than a button, and if the response they get isn’t what they expected, this can make your site frustrating to use.

Provide labels for everything on the site

Take a look at one of the forms on your site – if there is one. Is there text next to the form fields, to make clear what each of those fields is for? Then, click on the text – by which we do mean the text, rather than the field itself. If your cursor automatically moves into the input field, you can be sure that the field is appropriately labelled.

An unlabelled form creates problems for a screen reader user, who won’t be able to tell what belongs in each field except by exploring the rest of the site for any other helpful text.

Even if you implement all of the above tips, you won’t necessarily have a perfectly accessible website – but such advice should nonetheless serve as useful inspiration for when you do come to design or alter your site specifically with accessibility issues in mind.

Why not ask the Piranha Designs team today about the custom web design solutions that we can provide for you, in accordance with your most demanding requirements?

Your prospective customers will be reassured by a well-sorted ‘About Us’ page

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, April 18, 2018

What’s the first thing that a visitor to your company website will want to know, besides the products or services that you offer? It’s who you are, of course.

By that, we don’t just mean your company name, the sector in which your business is active or even the name of the founder. What we mean, are all of the other things that will actually ease the anxieties and doubts of your potential customers.

What anxieties and doubts are your site visitors likely to have?

Let’s imagine that a person ends up on your site through Google, because you’re selling something that they’ve been looking for. The likelihood is that if you’re reading this, your firm isn’t Amazon or Coca-Cola, so the visitor in question may well have never heard of your brand.

So, it’s the basics that they will want to be reassured about. Is your site a trustworthy one, where they can complete a purchase by entering their credit card or other payment information and be sure that their order will be delivered in good time?

Can they also expect the items that they receive to work properly, and if there are any issues with the product, will you be responsive to their complaints and work hard to resolve their problem?

As much of a habit as online shopping has become for so many of us, the fact remains that online shoppers can’t pick up and feel the merchandise, or try on items of clothing. You will therefore need to do everything possible to quickly establish trust with your audience – and your site’s ‘About Us’ page can be an invaluable tool for this.

A well-crafted page will do much to give you credibility

Given how unlikely it is that the average scammer will go as far as building an intricate ‘About Us’ section complete with detail on company values and original photos, it’s fair to say that original and unique content will go a long way to establishing a sense of reputability among your site visitors.

That might manifest in such details as why and when you started your company, as well as what motivates you to provide the products or services that you do through your site. It might also mean filling the visitor in on your staff, including their full names and own interests.

There’s so much else that you can do beyond this. You could describe exactly how the products or services that you offer are made, or how you manage to keep your prices competitive without compromising quality. What about ‘behind the scenes’ of your company, such as your work culture? You might also want to include details on media coverage that your brand has received.

In summary, when you get your site’s ‘About Us’ page right, it can be such a brilliant part of your site for showcasing and enhancing your company’s identity. It’s all about communicating what makes your brand unique, interesting and relevant, so that your prospective shoppers’ nerves will be calmed and they will feel confident to order products or services from you.

Could Piranha Designs be your crucial partners this year in helping you to get your website to the next level of success? We offer a broad range of up-to-the-minute and proven web design and other services, and would be delighted to hear from you.

Great tips for taking your own eye-catching product images

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, March 21, 2018

If you have spent any time running an ecommerce site, you may have at least been tempted to take your own images of certain products being offered on your site. However, there’s more to impactful self-made product photography than simply setting up a camera and tripod and snapping away at subjects on a white background.

That’s because, as important as the time-honoured product photography rules are, it also helps to subtly break them occasionally if you are to produce the most memorable images. Take a look at some of our below suggestions to see what we mean.

Hang products

You may well be quite accustomed to seeing products pictured hanging when browsing ecommerce sites, so this isn’t necessarily a hugely distinctive tip. However, there are so many ways to creatively hang products, ranging from hanging them upside down and sideways to suspending the item from wires and ropes that also serve as an integral part of the photo.

Don’t be afraid to show a sense of humour and experiment with approaches. The lighting of your images has to be consistently impeccable too, of course.

Macro shots

‘Macro photography’ refers to the practice of taking extreme close-up shots of what may actually be very small items, and there’s no question that these can be very impactful. However, we would also urge you to use such images next to more ‘standard’ product shots so that the viewer has a good sense of what the item really looks and feels like.

Again, lighting is really important here, as macro photography is at its most impressive when even the tiniest and most intricate details are visible.

Keep the background in focus

The conventional wisdom in product photography is that when you have an off-focus background, the viewer’s eye is naturally drawn to the main product in the foreground.

But there’s little to stop you preserving a clear background while also still placing your product slightly in front. You may, for example, place a food product alongside similar items to indicate how it may be used.

Make use of reflection

You can make an otherwise boring image more interesting by applying a reflective effect. This can be done with a mirror, but there are also other ways of doing it.

You might place the product in a shallow pan of water, for example, combined with interesting lighting effects. Or what about using image-editing software to show reflections in water and other surfaces? The result can be more subtle – but still interesting – than you presume will be the case.

Combine these product photography tips with our far-reaching know-how in ecommerce website design here at Piranha Designs, and you can give your brand an impressive online presence that belies the relatively little you might have spent on it.

Don't forget to encourage post-Christmas reviews

Piranha Designs - Thursday, December 21, 2017

Survey suggestion opinion review feedback concept

It only takes a few minutes of Googling to unearth statistics showing just how important customer reviews can be to your company. One recent survey found that 60% of consumers look at online reviews at least once a week, with 93% stating that reviews influence their purchasing decisions.

Links have also been made between customer reviews and improved ecommerce conversion rates - and it's thought that they play an instrumental role in making your site's product pages easier to find in the search engines as well.

All of this, combined with the natural rise in ecommerce sales volume that greets Christmas, makes it an obvious step to do everything possible to encourage the posting of customer reviews as an aid to your post-Yuletide marketing.

Customer reviews have strong value for ecommerce sites

There are plenty more statistics like the above that firmly signal just how much customer reviews could bring to your online business. Did you know, for example, that 82% of consumers say the content of a review has convinced them to make a purchase?

However, it's also vital not to underestimate the SEO dimension of customer reviews, with Google believed to favour sites that have received positive reviews over those with no reviews when using them as a factor to determine search engine rankings.

Customer reviews also often contain long-tail keywords, which could further assist in making your site easier for casual online searchers to discover.

So, what can you do to boost how many reviews you receive?

The greater number of visits to and sales at online stores during December means that now is definitely the time of year, of all times of year, to encourage customer reviews. But how can you do that?

The most straightforward and obvious way is to simply ask for reviews. You may do this through marketing emails that also give you the opportunity to signal how much you appreciate your customer’s purchase, and your interest in receiving honest feedback that will enable you to improve the products your business sells.

You could make a similar request in a social media update, asking those of your followers who have shopped with you whether they would be kind enough to provide a review.

Given the greater impact that reviews for more expensive items may have, it might be a good idea to go further here, perhaps by sending a handwritten card to those who bought such products from you, thanking them for choosing your store and asking them to post a review.

But what if you attract negative reviews?

It’s almost certain that your company, product or service will attract a bad review from time to time. Nor is that always a bad thing, given that the occasional poor review amid the five-star reviews you hope to receive will probably help to make your wider body of public feedback more believable.

Indeed, one study a few years ago showed that ecommerce sites could expect to gain the best conversion rates when their average product review scores hovered between 4.2 and 4.5 on a scale of one to five.

All in all, post-Christmas reviews can definitely be a big part of your firm’s marketing mix as you head into the New Year, so don’t underestimate them! Remember, too, that here at Piranha Designs, we can provide the website design and other services that will help your business to get 2018 off to the best possible start.

3 big ecommerce website design trends for 2018

Piranha Designs - Thursday, November 30, 2017

The world of ecommerce web design doesn’t stay still – there are always new techniques and technologies coming on stream to guide the site design process.

Here are just some of those that you should be aware of for the coming 12 months.

1. An even greater emphasis on video

Could we possibly have any more video online than we’ve had for the last few years? You might not think so, but with the amount of video on the web continuing to edge upwards, it’s a medium that still hasn’t been explored to its full potential on ecommerce sites.

Expect the coming year to be characterised by the ever-greater prevalence of videos in the background of websites or as hero images, as well as on product pages to provide greater insight into how specific items may be used by the customer.

2. Guided selling

Guided selling involves asking shoppers questions about what kind of products they’re looking for, what features they need and how they intend to use such products, so that the customer can be directed to the items that are the best match to their needs.

It’s not an entirely new phenomenon – the chances are that you’ve already seen sites incorporating ‘selectors’ and ‘finders’ to help to narrow down the products that suit you most.

However, there’s a strong likelihood that you will see much more functionality like this on ecommerce sites as 2018 wears on.

3. More microinteractions

Microinteractions are those little details that help to make the design of a website more satisfying for the human user – the ‘like’ function on Facebook is a great example of the original microinteraction, and they’ve become ever-more numerous since then.

On an ecommerce site, a microinteraction may also occur when a user writes a review for a recently purchased product, in the form of a small animation that thanks them for the submission and encourages them to write a review for any of the other items they’ve bought from the site.

According to Dan Saffer, who wrote the book Microinteractions: Designing with Details, a microinteraction consists of four key parts. These include the trigger that initiates or begins the microinteraction, the rules defining or determining what happens in that interaction, the feedback that communicates what is happening or has just happened, and the loops and modes governing the microinteraction’s content.

Microinteractions may only just be becoming ‘big’ in the ecommerce space, but you can expect site designers to be peppering their creations with them throughout 2018.

Would you like to equip your brand with the complete feature-laden, but effortless-to-use ecommerce portal in the coming 12 months? If so, get in touch with the Piranha Designs team now to discuss how our experts in ecommerce website design can help to make it possible.


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