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.

A database as a way of managing and developing a business

Piranha Designs - Thursday, March 28, 2019

The use of a correctly structured database is essential for the survival and success of a business in the current market. Technological advances provide useful tools for the improvement of internal management, the optimisation of resources and the increase of sales. In addition, these databases are ever more accessible to the budgets of small and medium-sized businesses.

Customisation

Nowadays many companies operate in both local and international markets at the same time. Due mainly to the advances in the digital era, the rise in e-commerce and the disappearance of barriers towards international commerce, the expansion of markets out of the local environment has never been simpler. The search for standardisation in business processes whilst maintaining brand identity has been a constant concern for companies as they grow. That said, there is a rising trend toward the customisation of what’s on offer depending on the tastes and preferences of clients, because although the companies operate in open and globalised markets, they also compete in local markets.

The personalisation of products and services to the specific tastes of the clients is becoming a key factor for the success of a business in the 21st Century. A very good example of this movement is McDonalds restaurants. McDonalds is without doubt the global leader in the fast food restaurant sector. Its restaurants can be found in over 100 countries around the world, with their brandname and business model being well-known worldwide. Even though for many McDonalds is a clear example of the standardisation of processes, brand and product image, the company has learnt how to customise its offering during its global expansion in relation to its intended market. An example of this is the McCurry in India, McKebab in Israel, McBaguette in France or the Greek Mc etc., just a few among various dozens of recipes adapted to local tastes. The management of information, in this case of the flavours and textures preferred by McDonalds clients, is essential for the success of the fast food chain.

Databases as a solution

Technology giants such as Amazon, Facebook or Google are examples of companies that have succeeded through the collection, study and effective use of data that is shared with them by clients. These sorts of business practices have been called the analysis and use of 'Big Data'. A detailed database which is well-structured adds value to a company offering and increases the degree of sales conversion.

What does this mean to a small/medium sized business?

All written and archived documentation can and should be digitalised. Client contact data, budgets, sales, projects or tasks, dates and times, income, costs, etc is data that all companies handle but few are digitalising. If this data was compiled in one place, its analysis and use could add value to processes and services. Many companies are content with their corporate website or continue using Excel databases and obsolete desktop software without online access. The main reason for which companies like Amazon know perfectly when, how and to who they should show their products, is because they program their databases so that they can optimise the final result. The question that the business person is probably making at this point is if the technology is really accessible to a small and medium-sized business. The response is loud and clear – Yes! It all starts with a change in the way that business is conceived and information is managed.

You are still in time to transform and improve your business.

  1. Plan: Bring together all the written documentation from Excel, Word, PDF formats that you share with all your contacts in the company. This could be employees, providers, clients, etc.

  2. Look for help: Concentrate on what you know how to do, most probably in the business activity of your company. Look for a company with understanding and verifiable experience in web systems and database management. They can facilitate the resources and will help you to structure and make the most of the collected data.

  3. Create: Get that company to build you a customised database driven, web-based solution that does everything you need.

  4. Be disciplined: The process might take time to process internally. The team must become familiar with feeding the new internal system, which requires discipline.

  5. Be more effective: As the database grows, start to analyse and optimise internal processes. Let algorithms carry out repetitive tasks and concentrate your time and energy on improving your business.

By using the power of a good database and a custom built system you can really take your business to another level.

By Piranha

For over 18 years Piranha have been developing database driven web-based solutions for all types of businesses. Analysing the current setup and replacing excel, word and outlook with one integrated custom built system that optimises time and effort. Piranha have built custom solutions for the Port Authority, Government Departments, Hearts Football Club and many local and international businesses.

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.

You don’t necessarily need to discount your store’s products to sell more

Piranha Designs - Thursday, March 21, 2019

A lot of small businesses like those that we serve with our ecommerce website design services here at Piranha Designs can understandably become so worked up about bolstering their conversions of traffic into sales, that they might not pay enough attention to the overall impact this has on profit.

Yes, offering money-off vouchers, limited-time-only discounts and simply undercutting your competitors with the standard prices that you set could all help to boost sales.

However, you might have overlooked that doing so will also mean a lot more work for your company, in terms of the work needed to fulfil the heightened number of orders you receive.

You may therefore be especially interested in the ways you can drive sales from your ecommerce store without having to cut prices at all. Here are just a few proven suggestions.

Set out the unique selling points of your brand and products

If you spend any amount of time browsing the sites of luxury brands, you may have noticed that they don’t tend to offer discounts very often, or even necessarily a coupon code box on the checkout page.

You might imagine that the sheer pull of a prestigious brand means it doesn’t exactly have to put on special offers very often. However, another way to see it is that customers are prepared to spend more if they see a certain unique or added value in what a firm offers.

You should therefore ask yourself what especially high-quality materials or ingredients given products of yours consist of, and that customers may be willing to pay a premium for. Or perhaps your product solves problems in a way that not many alternatives do? Maybe the breadth and depth of your customer support is especially great compared to rivals, too?

Instil urgency in the customer

Incorporating simple, non-invasive messages that also have a sense of urgency into your product marketing can further encourage customers to fork out for the full price of something. This is especially applicable to trendy and limited-edition products that have a relatively committed target audience, who won’t wish to miss out on the latest ‘hot’ release.

Streamline the buying process

Everything that you can do to speed up and remove bumps from the online purchasing process is vital if you are to keep a buyer’s interest for long enough to see them through to the final checkout stage. Finding, adding and ordering products should be a cinch – otherwise, you are heightening the risk of cart abandonment.

Keep delivery charges as low as possible

Fair enough – when you’re a small company, you don’t necessarily have the luxury of reducing shipping fees to nothing. However, a flat-rate method could still be greatly useful for leaving your customers in no doubt about how much they will be required to pay at the checkout. It’s worth bearing in mind, though, that free delivery is especially frequently offered on higher-priced products – so a ‘free delivery on orders over £50’ or similar policy could help you to compete.

You can’t, of course, expect to attract every possible buyer of your products if they are focused on price above all else. Nonetheless, the above tips and other measures for better presenting your store’s offerings could be invaluable for raising profits, irrespective of whether you also engage Piranha Designs to handle the design of your ecommerce website.

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.

How can you analyse and compare your rivals’ SEO to your own?

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Given that you will probably be glancing every now and then at how your competitors are doing anyway – it’s difficult to resist checking whether they are ranking higher or lower than you for a particular keyword – it makes sense to know how to undertake a more formal analysis of their search engine optimisation (SEO).

It’s worth remembering that while simply copying your rivals’ approach to SEO is not a fast ticket to success – after all, you’ll need to figure out the best ways to beat them, not merely match them – a competitor analysis can nonetheless provide vital insight into how your own site could do better. 

The five steps to a successful competitor SEO analysis 

There are five basic components to an analysis of your rivals’ SEO that will actually provide the information you need about where your competitors are going right or wrong – and by extension, what moves you could make to better challenge them in the search engine results pages (SERPs). 

These are (1) determining your critical keyword themes and the sites competing with you for such themes; (2) conducting an organic ranking audit; (3) analysing the top-ranking pages; (4) identifying the elements valued by search engines; and (5) developing a plan to improve on these elements for your own site. 

Even a relatively basic analysis can go a long way 

As we mentioned above, picking out keywords and competitors is an important part of an effective SEO competitor analysis. If you have a keyword strategy already, this should be a straightforward step – and if you don’t, our team here at Piranha Designs can help to put one together for you. 

Some rudimentary keyword research can be carried out through the use of a tool like the free Google Keyword Planner. However, pinpointing your competitors from an SEO standpoint can be a little trickier, as they aren’t always the same as those your marketing team may have in mind. Remember that both large and small ecommerce sites can be SEO rivals of yours, as well as media companies and sites with different business models. 

Then, there’s the SEO ranking audit to undertake. You could do this with a dedicated enterprise SEO platform or even just manually with a spreadsheet, documenting how highly various rivals are ranking for certain keywords. 

Finally, once you’ve got such invaluable ranking data, you’ll need to start scrutinising and making some conclusions from it. It is at this stage that you will need to dissect the competitor pages that are outranking you, and consider just what is making those pages so special in the eyes of Google. 

It could be that certain high-performing competitor pages have more content than yours, or are optimised more effectively for the keyword themes you have identified. Perhaps they’re simply more engaging to read, which makes it more likely that the average reader will remain on that page, instead of simply leaving (‘bouncing’) a few seconds after arrival? 

Take your next big step to SEO success with Piranha Designs 

We could go into greater detail about how your business could make leaps and bounds online – but of course, we only have so much space here. So why not contact the Piranha Designs team to discuss how we could devise a search engine optimisation strategy that delivers big results for your brand?

5 elements that any product video on your website should have

Piranha Designs - Monday, January 21, 2019

Video has gained considerably in prominence as an online marketing medium in recent years. Whereas it may have once been little more than a supporting element, for many customers browsing an ecommerce site, it may now be the primary device through which they learn the basics about a given product and what it does.

However, it’s still perfectly possible for a product video to be posted on your site that does little or nothing to boost sales. In short, just uploading a video isn’t enough – it also needs to be the right video. That means it’ll need to boast the below characteristics and components.

A clear and concise message

Does your product video hook in the shopper by telling them precisely why they need the product? Any fluff in your video can be fatal to your chances of actually selling the product. This is a medium through which to communicate purposeful facts, in a running time of one minute or less.

An opening that grabs attention

Those browsing your store in search of a product don’t usually have much time to waste. Your video should therefore make clear straight away, what problem the given product fixes. The intro should be all about being relatable to your customers – otherwise, they’ll quickly hit that browser ‘back’ button.

Compelling and evocative content

Of course, the tone that your product video should have is likely to be greatly dictated by the product itself and your target audience. However, emotion is a powerful force driving many purchases. You therefore need to consider what is most important to your target customers, and then play on it in your product video.

References to the user’s pain point

A good product is all about resolving a problem – in other words, alleviating a customer’s pain point, or even several. This means a great product video will discuss at least one such pain point, perhaps by showing a customer struggling in a certain hypothetical situation, and then finding their problem to be solved by use of the product. It’s best not to overdo the number of pain points you discuss, however, so that you don’t muddle your product video’s overall message.

A decisive call to action

It’s worth remembering that with video having come to prominence online alongside the rise of optimised mobile websites like those that we create here at Piranha Designs, there’s a good chance that a large proportion of those viewing your video will be doing so via the small screen of a smartphone. This makes it all the more vital for your video’s call to action to be eye-catching and clear, perhaps achieved with specific instructions or icons that the user can tap.

Are you looking to bolster your online business’s fortunes with a brand new website design during 2019? If so, the Piranha Designs team would be delighted to hear you – feel free to contact us via our Gibraltar, Edinburgh or London offices today.

What could be stopping your ecommerce site’s visitors from buying?

Piranha Designs - Friday, December 21, 2018

The festive season is a period when you will want to see high conversion rates from your ecommerce store; the truth is, however, that even a strong-performing online shop can improve in some respects.

Fortunately, some of the reasons for any faltering conversions may be obvious to you; you may already know that your current checkout process is cumbersome, for example, or that your delivery costs are high compared to obvious rivals. Sometimes, overly restrictive returns policies can be harmful as well.

However, customers can also be deterred from purchasing from you by seemingly minor, ‘easy-to-overlook’ issues. Here are just a few that you may look to fix.

Colours that are harsh on the eye

Yes, even a site’s colour scheme can cause a visitor to spend less time browsing it than would otherwise be the case – and that means potentially lost sales.

Is your site largely decked out in a less popular colour – such as brown or yellow – that could be putting off visitors? Maybe the overall colour scheme is a bit unsightly, or there are clashing combinations of colours in various crucial parts of the site, such as its navigation menus and buttons?

Standard manufacturer descriptions

Guess what? Manufacturers have an interest in making their own product look like the best in its industry, so their own product descriptions can feature more than a little hyperbole.

Indeed, the typically highly sales-focused vibe of manufacturers’ own product descriptions can even sometimes fail to provide a clear outline of what the item is and how it could benefit the customer.

By writing your own site’s product descriptions, you could therefore do a lot to engage your particular visitors and give them the information and insight that they most need.

Typos, poor grammar and run-on sentences

Most of us naturally stop when we encounter an obvious spelling or grammatical error in a piece of text. It’s especially glaring on an ecommerce site, as it would normally be presumed that you have the professionalism to at least proofread the content on your site before making it ‘live’.

Also be sure to avoid especially long sentences that can be difficult to quickly read and understand.

Substandard photos and videos

The photos and videos that you use to advertise your stocked products should clearly show the item in question, not least so that the prospective buyer can easily understand what it is.

Remember that smartphone and tablet users – who make up an especially large proportion of online shoppers today – will frequently wish to pinch to zoom for a closer look at a given item. You should therefore ensure they can easily do this on your own site, even if you already provide a dedicated zoom feature.

To find out more about how Piranha Designs’ expertise in ecommerce website design could make all of the difference to your brand’s efforts to significantly bolster its conversions during 2019, simply email or get on the phone to our Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh offices.

Could your ecommerce site's search functionality be improved?

Piranha Designs - Monday, December 17, 2018

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

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

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

There are, though, many ways to optimise site search 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some lesser-spotted advice on optimising your site content for search engines

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, October 17, 2018

While the design of your website will always play a central role in ensuring it ranks well in the search engines, it can be easy to forget just how crucial the most relevant content also is. If your site content isn’t relevant to anyone, you can’t expect to generate many visitors and revenue from natural search.

It’s therefore well worth considering the below strategies for tweaking your site content in a manner that is search engine optimisation (SEO) friendly.

Allow keyword research to guide your content strategy

Keyword research is a key component of all of our SEO and marketing packages here at Piranha Designs, and with good reason. The higher the standard of your keyword research, the more you will know about what searchers truly want.

That’s why keyword research is so vital when you come to devise your natural search and content strategies for your site. Good keyword research enables you to spot the gaps in your site that you need to fill with fresh content.

It’s also important to assign intent to keyword themes – whether the user is looking for information, to make a purchase or to merely navigate relevant sites – so that you can craft the content that will stimulate and fulfil the visitor’s desire in each case.

Make sure you aren’t competing with yourself

Once you have established certain keyword themes, you will be able to map them to specific pages of your site to accommodate the broadest range of relevant keywords.

This greatly helps to ensure you don’t end up simply attempting to optimise every page of your site for a similar set of in-demand keywords, thereby forcing your pages to compete with each other for rankings.

Optimise in both scalable and manual ways

You can efficiently enhance your site’s tag-based content through the use of default ‘formulas’ for generating title tags, meta descriptions, headings and image alt attributes.

However, it’s also true that you can only get so far with your SEO when you depend purely on formulas. In any case, your pages based on the highest-value keyword themes will need to be manually optimised as part of the fine-tuning process.

In a lot of cases, you might simply find yourself needing to fix awkward grammar brought about by the aforementioned formulas. One aspect of your pages that should always be manually optimised, however, is the main body of text, as you can’t apply scalable optimisation methods to what is supposed to be creatively written content.

These tips cover just some of the many elements that you will need to think about when you are tweaking and adjusting your site with the search engines in mind. Contact Piranha Designs’ Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh offices today, and we can give you more hands-on assistance with your site’s search engine profile.


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