Could a loyalty scheme help to cement your online store’s COVID-19 gains?

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Such is the immensely disruptive nature of a pandemic like the one we have faced over the last few months, that almost no one can claim COVID-19 has been a “good” thing for them overall.

One positive that ecommerce store owners certainly weren’t expecting at the start of the year, however, was a massive jump in the proportion of e-tail sales as part of overall retail sales, due to lockdown restrictions having forced many more people to make purchases from home.

Hopefully, your own online outlet will have effectively capitalised on the jump in overall demand for ecommerce sites’ services, with the consequence of rising sales.

But as the previous lockdown rules gradually loosen and more people are afforded the luxury of shopping at brick-and-mortar stores again, how can your e-tail store consolidate the gains it has made since March?

One short answer to that question is... by introducing a loyalty scheme.

Why are loyalty programs such a great idea anyway?

Sometimes referred to as ‘VIP’ or ‘rewards’ schemes, or even ‘loyalty programs’, loyalty schemes take many forms on ecommerce sites.

However, the broad benefits of such schemes for both the business itself and its customers are well-defined. A VIP scheme could help your store to boost customer lifetime value (CLV or CLTV), which is a measure of the net profit that can be predicted for a given customer over the entire duration of your relationship with them.

Customers who properly engage with loyalty programs are also, of course, more engaged and loyal customers in general with the brands running these schemes. Your own loyalty club members are likelier to read the marketing emails you send them, and to ‘like’ and share your brand’s social media posts.

Then, there’s the not-insignificant matter of all of the data you can gather from the customers who participate in your VIP scheme. This could enable you to develop a better understanding of how your target audience behaves in general, and how you could better reach them with the right products, prices and marketing messages.

A truly great loyalty or VIP scheme goes well beyond the basics

So, what does a good loyalty scheme consist of? Well, first of all, it should offer something of value to the customer from the moment they join as a member or participant. That might be a discount straight away, or perhaps a gift, or extra loyalty points just for signing up.

Whatever you offer at this stage, make sure it’s exclusively obtainable by those joining your loyalty program, rather than just a duplication of an offer you might already present to those subscribing to your emails, for example.

From there, various other features or quirks may be added to your store’s loyalty scheme to help to make it really interesting, with the exact ones you choose dependent on your business’s sector, preferences and needs.

Some online stores, for instance, might throw in additional bonuses for customers who carry out certain actions like answering a survey or installing an app.

Maybe you might also present VIP shoppers with a voucher or extra loyalty points on their birthdays, or introduce a referral element, whereby the loyalty club member is rewarded if they refer someone to the site who goes on to make a purchase from your store.

Or what about rewarding points for other one-off activities like your customers posting images of your store’s products and how they use them with your social media hashtag? The promise of exclusive content can also be a powerful enticement for those who are unsure of whether to become a loyalty member of your site.

There are so many ways to get loyalty schemes ‘right’

The above is naturally not an exhaustive rundown of all of the possibilities for your store’s loyalty scheme; nonetheless, it should give you a sense of some of the intriguing ways you could experiment and mix things up when launching a rewards program.

A well-executed loyalty program can do so much to better market your ecommerce store’s offerings, heighten engagement and boost sales. However, it is also just one of the many aspects of your e-tail business that you will need to focus on getting right for the remainder of 2020 and beyond.


For an in-depth discussion about your online business’s aspirations and needs with regard to website design, SEO and PPC marketing, and so many more areas of specialism of ours, don’t hesitate to enquire to the Piranha Designs team in Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh today. 

Should you still place more emphasis on benefits than features?

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, November 21, 2017

One piece of sales copywriting advice that has long prevailed among marketers is that of the importance of outlining a given product or service’s benefits, rather than its features. It’s much more crucial to tell your target audience about how the product or service in question actually helps them, than to simply list its properties – or at least, that’s what we’ve long been told.

Widely accepted advice, and not entirely wrong

It’s a mantra that seems logical enough. After all, if you simply tell prospective buyers that your product or service has a certain feature – for example, that a given health supplement contains vitamin A – the buyer may be simply left asking, “so what?” But if you then tell them that vitamin A could have real benefits for their health, including for their skin, vision and immune system, their imagination is much more likely to be captured.

It can sometimes be worth mentioning even obvious benefits – such as that a given flight will take the buyer to a particular sunny resort – if it helps to transport the prospective customer’s mind there. That’s simply the way our brains work.

However, it doesn’t always hold fast

There are, though, times when it can actually be detrimental to even mention benefits. That could include when the benefit is unimpressive or obvious, such as if you are a new or used car dealer mentioning a given car’s 0-60 figure or top speed.

While it may be worth mentioning such features of the car, you hardly need to then explain what the benefit is of the car being fast, especially if the vehicle in question is a city runabout.

Nor should you avoid all mention of features...

So often, a marketer’s well-intentioned words to a client to “talk about benefits rather than features” is interpreted as meaning “don’t refer to features at all”, which is evidently ludicrous.

For example, stating that a given smartphone’s camera produces “really sharp and vivid images” isn’t enough, as the customer will also want to know what features – such as optical image stabilisation or the number of megapixels the camera has – actually make that the case.

Listing features alone may leave the reader asking “so what?”, but stating only benefits may have them thinking, “yeah, right”.

...save for certain circumstances

Can you get away without mentioning features in certain circumstances? Yes, you can – such as if the stated benefit is so obviously true that it doesn’t need to be backed up with any mention of a specific feature, or if there isn’t much space and it would be best to provide an alternative form of proof for that claimed benefit.

A good example of the latter is a fitness video, where endorsements by celebrities and testimonials from past customers who have actually used the product will probably be much more persuasive than a mere explanation of the various exercises or chapters covered in the video.

Both features and benefits can have their role in sales copy

When you are next writing web copy and you need to consider the vexed matter of ‘features vs benefits’, it’s best to put the oft-stated ‘rules’ to one side and instead consider how your readers will respond to certain content.

If you are listing a feature that will cause the reader to ask, “so what?”, you should go on to describe the benefit. If, though, you are describing a benefit to which the reader will inevitably say “yeah, right”, it’s important to back it up with a specific feature or another form of proof.

Grasping the respective functions of features and benefits, and how these can be explained in web copy, will help you to determine when a feature should be stated, when a benefit should be stated and when both should be stated.

Why not take a closer look at our extensive search engine marketing (SEM) services here at Piranha Designs and how they can assist your efforts to boost your online business’s sales throughout 2018 and beyond?

Top 10 New Year’s Resolution for Small Business Owners

- Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It’s the start of the New Year and millions of people around the world are reflecting on 2011 and are making New Year’s resolutions that will make them better, slimmer or healthier. As a small business owner you can also make a ‘corporate’ new year’s resolution for your business. In our next blog entry, we will share with you what Piranha Designs has promised to achieve in 2012. But now, let me share with you, what I believe, are the top 10 New Year’s resolutions for small business owners:

  1. 1.Support Other Small Businesses

As a small business owner yourself support other small businesses by switching one of your current providers or suppliers to a small business!

  1. 2. Focus on the Growing Mobile Community

It is a known fact that more people are using their mobile phones to surf the internet and that this is a growing trend. You need to make sure that all your online marketing strategies are mobile-friendly. Have you ever tested how easy it is to navigate through your website via a Blackberry, iPhone or Android?

  1. 3. Put yourself on the Map

It is also true that more and more people are using the internet to source out local businesses; so make sure you can be found easily on Google Places, Bing maps, and Yahoo maps.

  1. 4. Share the Workload

As a small business owner your time is precious so reflect on where your time and effort is most fruitful and focus on that! Then pass on all the other tasks (admin tasks, blog updates) to other staff members or consider outsourcing. 

  1. 5. Socialise More

Chose a social network that will be used to market your business, there is a wide selection (blog, facebook, twitter, google+, LinkedIn) so make sure you pick the one that best suits you. If you are already using one of these social networks either commit to utilising it further to promote your business or chose a new network to take full advantage of.

  1. 6. Refresh Your Website

Do not fall into the trap of focusing on your facebook account and neglecting your website. There is no point in having an up-to-date facebook page that leads to an out-dated and inaccurate webpage. Remember to keep the content and look relevant and engaging!

  1. 7. See Your Staff as Your Customers

If you see your staff as your primary customers you will start to praise them and treat them even better than you are now. This will have the knock on effect of having a happier and more motivated workforce which will lead to higher productivity and improved customer service!

  1. 8. Prepare for the Tax Time

Make a commitment to yourself that you will have all the relevant paperwork in an organised fashion at least 3 weeks before the tax deadline; this means that you can avoid the mad rush and stress of getting all the paperwork ready at the last minute.

  1. 9. Socialise in the Real World

Online socialising should not replace real world socialising; instead they should complement each other! You can find very valuable clients or providers by socialising outside of your normal circles. Perhaps attend a conference or join an association. 

  1. 10. Treat Yourself to Some TLC

As a small business owner it is very easy to work yourself too hard and reward yourself too little. So make sure you treat yourself regularly with leaving home early one day or treating yourself to a day at a spa.

Remember to look at our blog over the next few days so that you can find out what Piranha Designs New Year’s resolution is for 2012.  

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.

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

Cashflow and the Real Estate of the future

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Cashflow is the key to success in personal finance. Monthly income is the best way to go. If you have ever played Cashflow 101 from Robert Kiyosaki, you will know what I mean.

10 years ago property was the best thing to own for cashflow. Especially a property that you bought for a relatively low price, could rent out at a lot more than the mortgage, and eventually sell for a tidy profit.

Recently property prices have increased so much that these gems are very hard to find.

There is a new real estate emerging, the internet real estate.

Internet real estate is similar to commercial properties, it depends where they are, what kind of footfall (traffic) they get and how appealing they are. Websites have the potential to draw in higher monthly incomes with a lot lower outlay at the beginning.

McDonalds restaurants sell hamburgers but they are in the property business, renting or owning prime locations all around the world.

What is a prime location on the web?

A top Google ranking for a popular keyword is like being in Times Square. With thousands of customers knocking on your door, this is a very valuable position and can be extremely profitable.

You can build a website and get it high up the rankings and own this important real estate, or you can actually buy a website that is already in a good position.

There is a website that focuses on flipping websites, much the same way people flipped properties a while ago. This site allows you to buy websites and some whole businesses many with established cashflow.

Its quite interesting check it out: www.flippa.com

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