More people buy from the experts. Are you an expert?

Piranha Designs - Thursday, June 09, 2011
On the web there are some websites that sell everything. Amazon and ebay are the biggest ones. These sites are hugely successful.

However there are also a large number of businesses that seem to offer a load of different services. This can be rather confusing and not as beneficial as it sounds. As business owners it seems good to have as many bases covered as possible, but as a customer this is not always the case.

Let’s imagine you are looking to buy a fountain pen.

Now you search online and you find many different websites selling fountain pens. One of them is a stationery site that sells thousands of products, it has good prices and looks interesting. Now you check another site and see that this one is a fountain pen expert site. It is a store focussed on fountain pens. They have a lot of information, good prices but above all they know their stuff, and that’s all they sell.

Who would you most likely buy from?
The stationery site that happens to sell fountain pens? Or the fountain pen expert?

On the web it pays to be an expert. There are many people out there who claim to do everything. It is often better to claim to do very few things and do them really well.

Can you focus your website a bit more? Can you perhaps make multiple sites each of them concentrating on one area of your business? Analyse your site, do your visitors know what you do straight away, and are you portrayed as an expert?

I don’t know about you, but I prefer to buy from the experts.

Can you afford not to offer Free shipping?

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, May 18, 2011
As I speak to our customers I see that small businesses are fighting a difficult battle against the larger online stores such as Amazon. I have also seen that one of the key advantages that Amazon offer is Free Shipping.

There have been some recent studies that show quite astonishing results:

Nearly 50% of online orders include free shipping.

61% of people are very likely to cancel their order if they do not get free shipping.



Image and stats from comscore.com

Buying online is always supposed to be cheaper than going to a store, however when I buy from a store I never pay shipping, nor do I have to wait to get the item. It is these two concepts that need to be improved in order to make an online store successful. Short delivery periods and free shipping. That is why Amazon Prime is excellent. People pay a low annual fee and get free first class delivery on almost all products.

Small online retailers need to combat this, you can't just sit back and allow your customers to go to Amazon. At the same time couriers are not cheap, and with the rising cost of fuel this isn't likely to change much. What can you do?

The most popular option is to offer Free Shipping on orders over a certain value, and within a specific weight or volume. Basically you have to absorb the cost of shipping, but the increase in orders should be able to outweigh that.

It is worth a try. If you are using one of our Piston Commerce systems it is an easy option to turn on, give it a month and see the difference.

Breaking into the Spanish ecommerce market

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, April 20, 2011

We have recently begun working with a select number of Spanish firms in developing their ecommerce websites. Powered by our multi lingual Dynamo CMS software, the sites are making a solid impression.
A while ago we launched Agape - a large bi lingual website with an online store, videos etc. Last week we have finished two other sites Royal Pianos and Rosa Gabriel.



Royal Pianos.com is a leading Piano distributor based in Benalmadena, with clients all over Spain. Their new site allows for online ordering of Pianos and gives them an easy way to update any information immediately. We have also setup a free ebook, (Guide to buying a Piano) this serves to build trust and also starts a relationship with the company. From the day it was launched we have seen clients register for certain pianos, and are confident that this website is going to go from strength to strength. Visit Royal Pianos >



Rosa Gabriel.com is a very economical clothes store based in Tarifa. They have been around for a long time and are looking to expand. By building the site on Dynamo they can add their hundreds of products themselves, and market them through a weekly newsletter. Visit Rosa Gabriel >



Although the market is very weak in Spain, there are still some companies that are looking for professional suppliers who can help them overcome the struggles and improve their business. Working from Gibraltar, with access to English resources can give us an advantage over the competition.

Websites need to be designed to sell.

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, April 13, 2011
When you start building your first website or redesigning your current one. It is very common to focus on the looks. Here are some common thoughts, I hear from my clients:

My logo needs to be big.
I want some strong colours.
I need loads of options so people can choose whatever they want.
I like some movement, maybe even an intro page.

Sometimes we can end up building a website that is very attractive, original and looks great to you, but is not much use to your customer. There is no clear message and no call to action.

We must remember that websites are there to sell (most of the time), we need to constantly put ourselves in the customers shoes. Thinking that a customer may not even know what we do, or may not be sure of what they want either.

We like to design sites that have high conversion rates, that turn visitors into leads. Convert people on your newsletter into real customers.

Here is an article which will help you understand the difference:

Your web design is killing your conversion rate.

Can small businesses save money and time by having employees work from home?

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, March 30, 2011
There is a growing trend in the USA and in the UK for people to work from home. A friend in London works for a top UK television channel, and due to the nature of the work, she has to start at 4am. After an hour or so she has finished and doesn't have anything more to do until much later on. Obviously there is no point in getting her to go all the way to the office, which is quite a commute at ridiculous hours in the morning, if she is just going to sit at a PC and do her stuff. So she works from home. Gets up early has a cup of coffee and does whatever it is she needs to do without wasting hours driving or getting the tube.

There are a number of benefits (taken from UK BusinessLink website)

* improved retention of employees, eg home working can help retain working parents with childcare responsibilities
* a wider pool of applicants from which to recruit, eg disabled people who may prefer to work from home
* possible productivity gains through staff having fewer interruptions and less commuting time
* increased staff motivation with reduced stress and sickness levels
* savings on office space and other facilities
* possible location of sales staff near clients rather than being based in your premises

At the same time it is scary for a business owner to think his employees are in their pijamas playing the Wii instead of hard at work in the office! Obviously there are loads of great tools that can help to make everything easier. Here are some of the best:

  • Dropbox - online hard drive where everyone can share data
  • Google Docs - Online Office documents
  • Skype - Now with multiple video conferencing
  • GotoMeeting - online conferencing
  • GotoMyPC - remote PC access
One company that have really taken this to heart are Citrix Online, a hugely successful US based operation. Read more here: http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/feb2011/sb20110215_286886.htm

Also read: Why its Ok to let my staff work from home.

Please post your comments below.

Looking for Investment? Try Angel List

Piranha Designs - Thursday, March 24, 2011
Sometimes you have a great idea, or your business is expanding but you could really do with a financial boost to reach the tipping point. (This is the point where you become truly successful). Nowadays it is not that easy to find investment, although there is still a lot of money out there waiting for a good project.

There is a website which puts start ups and investors together, almost like a very mini facebook for investors. Here quite a few venture capitalists and investors check all kinds of ideas and projects and choose the ones they are interested in.

It is well worth taking a look, especially if you have a great idea but need the funds.

The website is called Angel List and can be found here: www.angel.co

Why Facebook is set to own the internet

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, March 02, 2011
Facebook has already changed the way people use the internet in an incredible way.

Facebook has recently been valued at $50 Billion, that is more than Time Warner and Boeing. How can this be? What does this mean to me as a business owner? Watch the video below for more information.



You need to make sure Facebook is in your marketing plans for the future, and start building it now.

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