5 ways for your online store to ride the wave of coronavirus

Piranha Designs - Friday, April 03, 2020

No kind of ecommerce business, whatever its sector, can pretend that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is a remotely good thing.

At the time of typing, the virus had already officially infected almost three quarters of a million people around the world, and killed tens of thousands. This is without even accounting for the dire economic and social consequences for those who may never contract the coronavirus.

Online stores, however, have also come into their own lately for many consumers who have found themselves under lockdown. Opportunities do therefore exist for many merchants to do their best during what may be a heightened demand for their services, while also assisting their customers at what is likely to be a trying time for great numbers of them.

Here are just some steps that your own ecommerce store could therefore take.

Re-jig your homepage and navigation

At this time of all times, it is likely that certain products in your store have become especially sought-after, while others might have been rendered almost irrelevant – at least for now.

It’s therefore a good moment to consider reorganising your store’s landing pages and browsing structures, to reflect what your customers are currently looking for. When doing so, you should make sure you especially strongly showcase products that can be quickly packed and delivered.

Keep a close eye on inventory

Customers’ needs for certain items may be particularly pressing right now, which heightens the importance of online stores closely managing their inventory.

It’s crucial to be honest with customers, and to minimise the frequency with which you are forced to cancel orders or deliver incomplete orders as a result of products being out of stock.

Make the most of ‘live chat’

We’ve previously blogged about what ‘live chat’ functionality can do for an ecommerce store. But this increasingly common feature has arguably come even more into its own during this pandemic.

Live chat, after all, makes it easier for e-tailers to handle simultaneous requests, as well as for customer service agents to take over with a particular enquiry where a colleague of theirs may have left off.

Nor can the availability of live chat be easily interrupted, unlike what the situation may be when your store needs to change its customer service email address, phone number or brick-and-mortar address.

Recommend alternative products

Is your store using the analytics that will enable you to monitor the products and pages that are especially popular? If so, this will help you to determine the parts of your site where it may be particularly important to recommend alternative options if the given item is out of stock.

Provide COVID-19-related FAQs

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) pages are routinely a godsend for both merchants and customers. But such a section can be even more useful now, for communicating to your shoppers how your business is dealing with the impacts of COVID-19.

Such FAQs on your own site may address such questions as what the coronavirus means for product availability and fulfilment times, for example. You might also incorporate auto-responses to the most common queries into live chat and Facebook Messenger, even including links where these would further help.

Would you appreciate assistance with carrying out any of the above or other steps for your ecommerce store in 2020? Remember that the Piranha Designs team is available at the other end of the phone in Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh. Alternatively, you could always email us to arrange a free no-obligation discussion of your website design or digital marketing needs.

A few tips for nabbing those late, late Christmas shoppers

Piranha Designs - Monday, December 16, 2019

If you’re not exactly the kind of person who suffers from procrastination, or you’re simply in the habit of always finishing your Christmas gift-buying by the 1st of December, you might find it hard to get your head around how so many other shoppers leave it so late to make their purchases.

Nonetheless, the most important thing to recognise is that these shoppers definitely exist, which means they’re there to be captured by ecommerce stores like yours.

But with the last Saturday before Christmas falling on the 21st this year, you’ll have to act fast to optimise your site if it’s not completely geared to the preferences and needs of these late shoppers. So, here are just a few simple steps you can take to lure such procrastinators.

Offer express delivery

This might seem like some of the most obvious advice we could give. However, you may be surprised by how many online stores prioritise affordability with their delivery offering, to such an extent that the speed and reliability of this service suffers.

Sure, price won’t completely cease to be a priority for most late shoppers – but above all else, they’ll want to know that their order will get to them in time. So, a lot of them won’t mind heightened shipping costs, as long as they aren’t ridiculously inflated compared to those of rival stores.

Highlight gift guides and bestselling items

One reason why a given late shopper may have procrastinated in the first place, is a simple difficulty with choosing a gift. It might therefore only require a well-written guide to gift shopping, and a few highlights of ideal presents for certain categories of customer – dads, mums, brothers and so on – to give them that vital inspiration to go ahead and make a spontaneous purchase.

Including some obvious unfussy ‘stocking fillers’ in these guides – modest, lightweight items that can be delivered quickly and cheaply – and allowing for easy filtering by price will likely further convince those dithering potential customers of yours to just buy already.

Be razor-sharp with your replies to customers

Whether they get in touch with you via phone, email, social media or even by commenting on your YouTube videos, when these anxious late shoppers ask you a question, they probably won’t be able to afford you only getting back in touch with them in 12 or 24 hours’ time. Always responding within 20 minutes is much more the kind of timeframe you should be aiming for.

Streamline the checkout process

As Christmas Day nears, you’ve got more reason than ever to review your site’s checkout process afresh. This is the ideal time to turn off every single strictly unnecessary element, so that your already-rushed shoppers won’t be left feeling even more stressed by a frivolous pop-up or your store demanding that they register an account with you.

Yes, dealing with procrastinators can be frustrating. But it also represents a key business opportunity for your online store – not just for the festive season, but potentially for months and years’ worth of future purchases – if you make all of the right moves to convenience them.

As for the longer-term ambitions you have for the design of your ecommerce website, why not get in touch with the Piranha Designs team to discuss them in more detail? That way, we, too, could be looking forward to a fruitful long-term relationship that extends through many Christmases to come.

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 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.

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.

Content writing tips that will help to vault your site up the search engine rankings

Piranha Designs - Monday, March 25, 2019

Composing the most effective text on your website – think such things as your product descriptions, articles, blog posts and other written copy – is a task that you may find intimidating from time to time. After all, it’s an element of your online presence that needs to be carefully crafted to appeal to both human users and search engine spiders.

But that doesn’t mean you need to give in to the dreaded ‘writer’s block’ when you’re trying to rustle up some text for your site. Follow our advice below, and you can maximise your chances of writing content that engages your target audiences and bolsters natural search engine performance.

Come up with an outline before you start

Sometimes, simply doing what your English teacher would have told you to do at school can be a brilliant formula for generating high-quality written copy.

It can greatly help, for example, to first devise an outline of what you want to write about in a given piece of text on your site. What are the key features and benefits of a product for which you are writing a description, or what vital points must your next blog post address?

Don’t worry too much about saying everything in an ordered or organised way at this early stage – just get it all out on the page.

Follow the ‘expel, then excel’ principle...

In the same spirit as the previous tip, when you come to actually write down those first few sentences or paragraphs, just focus on writing. Throw all of your thoughts down on the page, no matter how ‘stream of consciousness’ it might be.

Once you’ve got a lot of material written down, you’ll be able to then edit and refine it, including in line with the keywords you intend to use, to rustle up something polished, pleasurable to read and effective in attracting high search engine rankings.

...as well as the ‘keep it simple, sweetie’ one

The KISS principle works so well in many areas of life, but especially when you’re writing. Don’t use overly complicated or specialised language, unless your brand voice requires this.

Make your written content readable and engaging for your target audience, and they’re more likely to stay around on your site, trust you and make use of your products or services.

Produce seasonally appropriate content

Those lulls of time during the year between the really big ‘flashpoint’ events – Christmas, Easter and so on – can really drag.

That’s why it may greatly help to put together a ‘content calendar’ that will provide a template for what kind of content you will be writing and uploading to your site at certain times of year. For example, you may time some of your content to coincide with birthdays, anniversaries or events that are important to your sector, or provide general advice that makes sense in the given season.

Did you know that your site can benefit from such services as keyword research, on-page optimisation and blog content writing when you take advantage of one of our SEO marketing packages? When you contact the Piranha Designs team, we’ll talk to you about how we can best address the needs you have for your firm’s online presence.

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.


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