Would a minimalist approach help your site to sell more?

Piranha Designs - Thursday, November 14, 2019

The saying ‘yes is more’ may have been around for a while, but it seems that with the increasing dominance of the Millennial generation, it is taking on a greater resonance than perhaps ever before. More and more of us, it appears, are trying to ‘de-clutter’ our lives, and this may even extend to what we expect from and respond to in ecommerce stores.

Indeed, in much the same way as a tidy bedroom can assist you in finding that item you may have presumed you’d lost forever, so a minimalist website design – consisting simply of such elements as striking product imagery, some modest text and a clear call-to-action (CTA) – might make it easier for you to focus on precisely why you’re browsing that online store at all.

It’s a compelling theory – but does it stack up in reality? Well, let’s take a look at the cases ‘for’ and ‘against’ minimalist site design...

Make the right moves, and it could transform your online fortunes

In principle, there’s huge scope to par your site design down to just those elements that will help you to really make an impact, through heightened visitor engagement and conversions.

Cutting out or at least minimising every possible distraction on your ecommerce site, not least by bringing the most crucial content to the foreground, will help you to convey the messaging you really need your site visitors to know, without allowing them to become too easily sidetracked.

Using just a few large, emotionally evocative context-of-use product photos per page, while streamlining the site’s navigation systems to reduce how many clicks or ‘taps’ are needed to get to each destination, and deploying a white background contrasted with other colour elements, could all help to give your site a striking minimalist appeal.

You might also think carefully about the most fundamental sections that each of your product pages can be reduced down to – such as its main image, the product name, its price, a call-to-action (CTA) and a section for supporting information such as product details and technical specifications.

And of course, a key part of web-design minimalism is being ruthless about what to jettison on your site. Are your social share buttons giving you much benefit? What about those eye-catching labels that you like to use on certain products, such as ‘new’ and ‘featured’? If your store’s analytics don’t indicate they’re making a positive difference, it might be time to say goodbye to them.

Is there an argument for not being minimalistic?

The short answer is: yes. For some sites, it really is just too important to provide in-depth information and imagery that visitors can see straight away, in which case, it might be counter-productive to try to relentlessly slice away elements of your site that users may appreciate.

Nonetheless, even if you’re not specifically aiming at a ‘minimalist’ web design, there can be big advantages in keeping an eye out for unnecessary clutter on your ecommerce store. After all, by doing this well, you’ll be able to guide your visitors towards that all-important ‘buy’ button so much sooner.

Get in touch with the Piranha Designs team today, whether in Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh, for a more in-depth discussion of how we could assist you when you’re refining or – indeed – comprehensively revamping your own ecommerce presence.

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.

Is it finally time for your ecommerce business to start taking voice search seriously?

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Whether you personally consider smart assistant devices such as Amazon Echo or Google Home to be the future of online communication or a mere gimmick, the mere fact that more and more of us are becoming owners of them should cause ecommerce store owners to sit up and take notice.

Indeed, it was reported just earlier this year that almost a quarter (22%) of UK households now had a voice-controlled digital home assistant device like those we mentioned above.

This is quite the jump on the 11% figure recorded in 2017 – and with 41% of households having indicated that they plan to own such a device in the next five years, the actual ownership percentage at present may already be a lot higher.

No less crucial, however, is how we are using these devices

As recently as August, it was reported that almost 60% of smart speaker owners in the UK had used their device to shop in the last month. However, nearly half – 45% – felt that they weren’t really getting the most out of their devices, which indicates just how much of a burgeoning opportunity voice ecommerce might well be for many online retailers.

Moreover, Google has predicted that half of all searches will be initiated by voice by next year. So, is now the time to start re-jigging your own ecommerce portal for the emerging era of voice-activated shopping, or is the hype around it still outpacing the reality?

There are very real complexities to shopping by voice

Unfortunately, if there’s any reason for you to not invest a huge amount of time and money into readying your site for voice-initiated shopping just yet, it’s the sheer awkwardness and difficulty of trying to search for and purchase products using voice alone, at least for now.

For one thing, even with simple goods such as T-shirts, there are just so many attributes and variables for shoppers to compare and choose from – think the likes of size, colour, style, fabric, price, brand and so on.

And, while artificial intelligence (AI) is certainly continuing to improve, it’s still got some way to go until shoppers can be assured of a concise and easy path for sorting through the various choices before them as far as product specifications are concerned.

Nonetheless, voice-based shopping is a field to keep an eye on

Even if the AI in today’s voice assistants isn’t quite up to the task just yet of conducting the sophisticated conversations that many customers will expect if they are to start making serious use of this method of online shopping, the seeds of such development have certainly been planted.

As a consequence, voice shopping is creeping up and up on many ecommerce store owners’ priority lists – and it should be doing the same on yours.

As for what you can do right now to boost the relevance and usefulness of your e-tail portal for the current preferences and needs of your customers and those that they are likely to have in 2020 and beyond, get in touch with the Piranha Designs team today for a more in-depth conversation.

You’re welcome to contact us at our Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh offices, and when you do, we’ll be pleased to advise you on the best steps to take with your ecommerce website design to achieve the results that you want.

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.

How can a great user experience go hand in hand with great SEO?

Piranha Designs - Thursday, July 11, 2019

Are you constantly doing seemingly ‘all of the right things’ with the optimisation of your website for the search engines, only to find the high rankings you’ve worked so hard to achieve aren’t even bringing you a noticeable uplift in sales and loyal customers... that is, if your rankings are even climbing at all?

If so, your big problem may be that you’ve overlooked the crucial connection between user experience – or ‘UX’, as it’s frequently referred to in web design and development circles – and SEO.

You see, the two things have a very intimate relationship. Just imagine having two equally renowned high-street stores to choose from for a particular product, with the item being priced the same in both places... except that at one store, the staff are so much nicer, more responsive to your queries and more informative when answering your questions.

In theory, you might still buy the product at the ‘other’ store... but it’s the one that provides an especially great experience that you are especially likely to purchase the item from.

So, how does effect manifest for ecommerce stores?

Let’s continue with the offline analogy for a bit. You go to said brilliant store, you buy the product, you’re satisfied and you go back to that store again and again in the future, consistently benefitting from a brilliant service. You tell your friends and relatives how good this store is, and the store gains such a reputation that it is featured prominently in local directories, newspapers and magazines.

Well, there’s a similar thing going on for online stores that provide a superb user experience.

These sites don’t suffer from such high ‘bounce rates’ – the online store equivalent of someone heading into a shop, and then going straight back out again – while the more pleasurable browsing and buying experience for visitors lends itself to heightened ratings, referrals and inbound links.

A few quick ways to bolster your UX – and with it, your SEO

OK, so you might turn to Piranha Designs to undertake more in-depth optimisation of your site’s user experience – but here are a few quick tips to give you some inspiration and ideas. You might want to try...

  • Ensuring your site’s internal links are to pages that are genuinely relevant and useful for shoppers – there’s little point in linking to the page you’re already on, for example
  • Optimising for faster page loading times, in light of the Google study that showed conversions fell by 12% for every second of load time
  • Giving customers an equally pleasurable experience on mobile and desktop, in recognition of the fact that more than half of Google’s global search results are served from its mobile-first index
  • Going into greater depth with your content. Be careful here – length alone won’t translate into higher rankings, but content that is genuinely more informative and useful for visitors than what your rivals are serving up might well do
  • Targeting keyword themes and words that fit in well with what you’re offering to the customer, instead of being intended purely to drive search volume

Get in touch today with the Piranha Designs team at our Gibraltar, Edinburgh or London offices, and we’d be delighted to talk to you about our website design and SEO services that will help you to maximise your site’s user experience and with it, your brand’s online fortunes.

How to compensate for customers not being able to touch your products

Piranha Designs - Monday, June 24, 2019

There are a lot of great things about shopping online, ranging from its sheer convenience to the deals frequently available on ecommerce sites that might not be within your easy reach if you were to depend on the high street alone. 

Online retail isn’t without its drawbacks, though, with surely the biggest being the fact that the customer cannot reach out, touch and inspect a given product prior to purchasing it. 

This factor alone may deter some of your prospective customers from using your site, when there is a rival seller of a given required item within travelling distance of their house. So, what are some of the best potential ways of overcoming such a clear disadvantage as an ecommerce site owner?

Show plenty of captivating photos 

Anyone working in retail knows how powerful product imagery is. However, for too many of the items on sale in your online store, you may presently be dependent on whatever standard images the manufacturer has provided, perhaps simply depicting the product on a blank background. 

Why should you settle for that, when there’s such an obvious opportunity to incorporate context-of-use images into your product pages? These are photos that show how the particular item is actually used, thereby enabling the shopper to easily imagine how they might do the same. 

Explainer graphics can also be helpful, as can images that depict the product at unusual angles or in close-up to draw attention to distinctive and useful features. The more your on-site images can tell your customers about an item’s design, dimensions and functionality, the less they will feel the need to seek out an example of the product to scrutinise ‘in real life’ before ordering it. 

Include videos of the product 

While images can be taken of a product that include a person using it for demonstration purposes, video can be even more powerful in this regard. After all, there may be certain more technical products – or those requiring assembly – that require slightly more elaborate explanation as to how they are to be used, which can be done especially memorably in a video or two. 

Allow customers to post product reviews 

Providing a means by which customers can submit their own content in relation to the product can be similarly invaluable for reducing those urges that other shoppers may have to head to a brick-and-mortar store to examine and touch the item for themselves. 

It’s the case with photos and videos, and it can be the case with user-submitted reviews, too. Such reviews will help to answer the most pressing questions that customers are likely to have about what the product is actually like in real-life circumstances, further ‘humanising’ your site in the process. 

Are you looking for a website design service that also gives you full control over your site for updating its content when required? If so, you may be pleased to learn about our expertise in ecommerce web design, this being just one of the key services that Piranha Designs can provide to assist your retail brand in establishing the strongest possible online presence.

Introducing the ‘answer box’ – and what it could do for your SEO chances

Piranha Designs - Friday, May 31, 2019

You might think that you’re already doing everything you realistically can to get your ecommerce site to achieve strong positions in the search engine results pages (SERPs). But are you?

In today’s blog post, for instance, we’re taking a closer look at something called the ‘answer box’. It’s the box that you might have noticed at the top of a results page, providing an answer to whatever query you performed a search for.

A quick response to many users’ problems

To give just one example, let’s imagine that you are looking to purchase window film for a building, to better protect occupants and furnishings from solar heat gain and glare at this hotter time of year. You might not be able to easily reach the inside surface of the building’s windows, so you might be wondering whether it’s possible to install window film on the outside surface instead.

So, we Googled “can window films be applied outside”. An answer box popped up at the top of the resultant search page from www.windowtintingco.com, informing us that “the application of window film to the outside surface of some windows may be considered.”

The answer box goes on to provide further relevant information, and a link to the page on the aforementioned website where this text has been taken from.

You, too, can take advantage of these boxes

‘Answer boxes’, then, are a seriously handy feature for users, who might not even need to leave the Google search results page to have their query answered. For the same reasons, they’re also powerful from a search engine optimisation (SEO) perspective for the online businesses that manage to capture them. But with so many ‘how-to’ and other content-rich sites out there, does your humble ecommerce site have much chance of grabbing an answer box or two?

The answer to this question might surprise you. Data from one enterprise platform, for example, shows that the Internet’s 10 most popular shopping sites are collectively eligible to appear in the answer boxes arising from over 453,000 search queries.

But even these ‘elite’ sites – including such household names as eBay, Etsy, Walmart and Home Depot – only actually capture 11 per cent of those answer boxes.

‘Eligibility’, meanwhile, was defined as ranking in the first three positions in Google for a search query that brings up an answer box. The top three was chosen for the threshold because data indicates that 98 per cent of the time, it is one of those three sites that grab the answer box for the given query.

So, what does all of this mean for your online retailer?

What it means is that if you can get your ecommerce site into the top three positions for a query that causes an answer box to spring up, you might well have an extremely good chance of winning it – and reaping the consequent benefits for your brand’s online profile, authority and rankings.

Remember that the content standing the best chance of capturing an answer box is that which answers a question in simple language, in a couple of short lines.

Would you like to investigate the full range of SEO possibilities for your website, and start propelling your business to ever-higher rankings, sales and revenue online? If so, our team here at Piranha Designs is available at the other end of the phone. Get in touch now to discover more about our in-depth search engine marketing expertise and packages.

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.

What could a ‘live chat’ feature do for your ecommerce store?

Piranha Designs - Monday, April 08, 2019

‘Live chat’ functionality has become an increasingly familiar element among the wealth of customer support options offered by ecommerce sites, alongside the likes of social media links, telephone numbers and email addresses.

However, the benefits of incorporating such a feature into your brand’s own online store could be wider-ranging than you initially expect. Below are just a few examples of what we mean.

Customers are comfortable using it

Anything that could help to cultivate a good relationship with a customer from the earliest stages has to be a good thing for your ecommerce store, and there is both formal and more anecdotal evidence to suggest that customers are comfortable with using live chat functionality on a website.

One study last year, for instance, found that 43% of customers have previously used live chat. This shouldn’t be too surprising, given that it’s much like the chat programs, online messengers and text messaging that many of your customers will already be accustomed to using in their personal lives.

It’s quick to use

As they say, time is money. It’s therefore helpful for both the customer and the ecommerce business if visitors can receive swift responses to their queries – whether about the given company’s products, services, delivery costs or something else altogether.

As soon as a visitor initiates a chat using such software, a customer service representative on your business’s side can be notified of this straight away and provide an immediate answer.

This could be especially important if the customer’s query concerns an issue that is preventing them from completing a purchase. In such circumstances, your ecommerce store’s live chat feature could make the difference between a clinched sale and a lost sale.

It helps to replicate the ‘high street’ shopping experience

Sure, your customer service representative can’t pick up a product and present it to the customer for them to touch. If the customer has any questions about a product, though, they can ask them... and perhaps also any secondary questions springing from the answers given to the first ones.

In the process, you will be able to answer questions in relation to such specific matters as product selection and availability, and even any related products that you may recommend to the customer, in light of their specific requirements.

A live chat feature, then, can help to restore some of the ‘humanity’ to the shopping experience that may otherwise seem at risk of being lost when one switches from offline to online retail.

The above aren’t the entirety of the benefits that you could see from embedding a live chat feature into your site, with others including the opportunity to gather invaluable data about your customers, as well as the cost savings that it can offer over other forms of customer service.

Could live chat functionality be central to the customer service offered by your own next ecommerce site? Don’t hesitate to contact our experts in custom website solutions for a more in-depth chat about the requirements that you have for your firm’s online presence.


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