Branching out from physical to online retail? Here are the first things to think about

Piranha Designs - Monday, August 17, 2020


Amid all of the unwanted interruption and uncertainty that the coronavirus pandemic has brought to businesses that operate solely from ‘high street’ brick-and-mortar premises, we can well understand you wanting to build greater resilience for your firm in this strange new world.

One of the most obvious steps in that regard would probably be launching an ecommerce presence for your brand, even if you have no plans to leave the high street just yet.

But if that’s an operation your business is undergoing or thinking of undergoing, what are the key factors that you need to consider or may be at risk of overlooking?

Brick-and-mortar and online selling are very different worlds!

Hopefully, your brand won’t be under any illusions about the size of the challenge of adding an online sales arm to its high-street offering; it’s not something you can just introduce once and then largely forget about.

Regardless, it’s well worth underlining once more, how profoundly physical and online retail differ. If you’re in a brick-and-mortar store, you can pick up a product in your hands, look at it from different angles, and feel its weight. You can also scrutinise physical details that may not be obvious from the kind of imagery you see in a manufacturer’s brochure or on the pages of an online store.

An ecommerce store, of course, can’t offer these advantages, or certainly not to the same extent. Then, there’s the fact that a physical location can serve as its own form of marketing, with potential customers perhaps constantly driving or walking past it and making a mental note to investigate it if they find themselves requiring related services in the future.

Don’t underestimate what’s involved in making the transition

Whatever your brand happens to sell – clothing, kitchen utensils, art supplies, electrical appliances or something different altogether – there are very significant differences between selling those goods online and offline.

If you’re a brick-and-mortar business selling on the web for the first time, you might therefore underestimate the sheer energy, time and money investment needed to prepare and keep track of such aspects of your online store as its product images, product descriptions and inventory.

Consider, for instance, the images that you use on your product pages. Your brick-and-mortar store obviously doesn’t need to bother with these when it can literally show the item hanging from a hook. But when it comes to online selling, you’ll need at least one photograph, and probably ideally several, in order to give the prospective purchaser a vaguely equivalent experience.

And yes, while you might be able to obtain many usable product photos from the manufacturer or distributor, and upload them to your site, even this process can be more time-consuming than you initially imagine. Picture yourself repeating this task over and over again for literally hundreds or thousands of items, and it could all quickly become overwhelming.

Similar can be said for such key processes as sourcing or devising product descriptions, managing your ecommerce store’s inventory, and marketing it through both traditional and more recent online and digital channels, the latter including the likes of Pay Per Click and video advertising.

Allow us to help you to embrace this exciting new chapter

Notwithstanding all of our advice above, entering the world of online retail as a previously predominantly ‘high street’ brand shouldn’t be something to be scared of. It does, though, necessitate the best preparation, as we would be pleased to assist you with here at Piranha Designs.

Enquire now about such services as ecommerce website design and search engine marketing provided by our team, and you can soon be in a position to get so much more out of the e-tail possibilities that the post-COVID-19 era will represent.

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. 

Mimic Amazon by making these 3 changes to your e-tail site’s product pages

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, July 07, 2020

The statistics certainly don’t lie about Amazon’s continued staggering dominance of today’s ecommerce market; the tech titan may have started off as a bookseller in the early days of the World Wide Web, but by 2018, its annual net sales in the UK alone amounted to a staggering 14.5 billion US dollars. It was also reported last year that almost nine in 10 UK shoppers use the site.

What does all of this say about how your own ecommerce store responds to Amazon? Well, it certainly suggests you could learn a few lessons from them.

So, here are a few steps that you might take to make your site’s product pages that bit more ‘Amazon-esque’ – for the better.

Make your product names as descriptive as possible

Of course, Amazon is effectively its own search engine – people are constantly using its search function to type in the names of products that they’re looking for. Accordingly, merchants compete hard to rank their products as highly as possible in Amazon’s search results.

A strategy that such sellers therefore often adopt, is loading the names of their products with highly descriptive and specific text, to help them to reach those prospective buyers who really are looking for that red, stainless steel, 1.7-litre, electric kettle.

What you might not have realised, though, is that it’s a method that could also greatly help your own ecommerce store’s products to rank highly in Google. Adding a few modifiers – such as colour, size, material and so on – to your product page names could go a long way to helping you to target the prospective purchasers who’re most likely to be interested in them.

Flesh out your product descriptions

It might seem to go without saying that if your product page titles are highly descriptive, the actual descriptions further down the page probably should be, too.

However, you might not have consciously noticed how Amazon makes good use of both bullet points and longer-form text descriptions on its product pages. Both of these aspects of a product page can be instrumental in informing Google of the relevance of the product for the searches that human users might perform for certain items.

Bullet points, of course, are highly ‘scannable’, which makes them great for quickly drawing attention to the key features and benefits of a product. Well-written extended text, however, can also considerably boost contextual search relevance, at the same time as helping human users who land on the given page.

Allow for user-generated content

How many of us haven’t found a review by an actual buyer of a given product helpful for informing our decision as to whether to purchase? More recently, questions and answers have also been added to Amazon’s product pages. Both of these features enable Amazon – and other online stores like your own – to use shoppers’ own language to augment the information already on the page and bolster the page’s chances of ranking well.

We’d add a caveat here, though: not all user-generated content will necessarily be good for the SEO of your e-tail store’s product pages. If such content is poor quality, irrelevant or outright spammy, the page’s relevance signals may become muddled, thereby undermining its ability to rank.

So, it’s a very good idea to have someone moderating the reviews your products receive. You might even go further in the Amazon-imitating stakes in this regard, by allowing shoppers to indicate which reviews they find most helpful. This means that the highest-rated reviews can be pinned to the top of the list – in the process, denying a prominent position to lower-quality reviews.

Would you like to learn more about the breadth and depth of the ecommerce web design and SEO marketing expertise we could bring to your own brand? If so, the Piranha Designs team is available on the other end of a phone or email inbox, whether you contact us in Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh.

What can your e-tail business do now to prepare for Christmas 2020?

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, June 30, 2020

As crazy as it might seem in many ways to be even thinking about the end of the year, the fact remains that it tends to be just after Halloween onwards that customers turn their attentions to Christmas gift buying, running right up to Christmas Eve.

Retail phenomena like Black Friday and Cyber Monday have helped to turned the festive shopping season into something more than a frenzied couple of weeks’ buying immediately before Christmas.

However, it also seems unlikely that the COVID-19 pandemic will have become a mere bad memory by the time customers start their Christmas buying in 2020. So, how should the added complexity that the lingering virus brings affect your ecommerce firm’s festive preparations?

Navigating the persistent uncertainty around the pandemic

One of the problems with this subject, of course, is that no one truly knows what course the coronavirus outbreak will take in the UK and any other territories that your store might serve, even a month from now – never mind in another five or six months.

While monthly estimates have shown, for instance, that UK GDP fell by a frankly frightening 20.4% in April 2020, it is far from certain whether there will be a slow, fast or medium-paced economic recovery – or indeed, any immediate recovery.

This will also inevitably be influenced by such factors as the longer-term jobless figures and how much cash shoppers have in their pockets to spend as sources of support like the UK’s employee furlough scheme are gradually wound down.

Another statistic that you are likely to have noticed as an ecommerce store owner – at least in terms of the level of demand you have experienced from your own customers – is the sharp recent jump in Internet sales as a percentage of total retail sales in Great Britain. While this was 18.9% as recently as February, the ratio had vaulted to 32.8% by May.

Again, though, what is the long-term trend likely to be here, as more and more brick-and-mortar stores – even for ‘inessential’ sectors – reopen? A fast recovery, slow recovery or no recovery are different scenarios that could drastically impact your planning here, before you even consider how comfortable shoppers are likely to be with returning to physical stores.

There are still some actions, though, that you can take

As frustrating as the current uncertainty is, as an online merchant, you don’t have to simply throw your hands up and give up until more information is known about, for example, the likelihood of a much-talked-about ‘second wave’ of the virus.

Instead, take such concrete actions now as contacting your suppliers to ensure inventory will be available for Christmas, pinpointing any potential inventory issues and placing orders early if possible.

Also look at what your arrangements will be for delivering this inventory to customers, while contemplating what delivery disruptions could occur in the event of a ‘second wave’ and another lockdown, perhaps based on your store’s experiences the first time around.

Don’t be afraid, too, to ask your site’s customers about their festive shopping plans. What would they like to see your store doing or offering when the Christmas season arrives?

Finally, it’s a good idea to review your store’s online presence and what your needs for it are likely to be in the coming months. Could now be the time to get in touch with website design, mobile app or SEO marketing professionals like ours here at Piranha Designs, so that you can be sure of your store being as ‘COVID-19 ready’ as it can be from the autumn or winter onwards?

Now’s the time to make the moves to place your online store in the best possible position for success throughout what could be a tricky winter period – simply get in touch with our experts today to learn more. 

5 ways to innovate with your ecommerce store (without risking it all)

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Let’s face it; most business owners would probably love to be known for experimentation and innovation. However, they don’t want to gamble their livelihood by doing something that might seem like ‘a good idea at a time’, only to turn out to be a reputation-damaging disaster.

And so it is the case with those who operate ecommerce stores. However, being innovative isn’t always about the hugely influential, game-changing success (like, say, the iPhone) or a crushing failure that is ridiculed forevermore (such as, perhaps, the Sinclair C5).

Indeed, it’s often much smaller and more subtle innovations that can prove the most important for online businesses in the long run. Innovation is, by its very nature, a risk – but you don’t necessarily have to gamble it all.

You might simply try one or more of the following...

Introduce a new product category

Is there a category you could add to your store that would naturally complement what you have to offer already – accessories for electrical equipment, for instance?

Or, of course, you may be a little bolder than that, by adding a category that isn’t quite what people would think of when they first hear your brand mentioned. Regardless, this can be a great way to experiment with the broadening of your store’s offering, boosting its appeal to existing customers at the same time as attracting new ones.

Try out alternative price points

Sometimes, you just don’t know what difference a different price for a given product will make to sales, unless you go ahead and make said change.

If the item in question is a very common product, for example, lower pricing might make sense. But you may be surprised by the extent to which making a relatively unique product more expensive actually helps to heighten its desirability among buyers, especially if it is your own in-house brand.

Provide services after the initial purchase

In 2020, couldn’t your store benefit from going beyond the standard purchase confirmation email? This might mean relatively small and ‘safe’ touches such as providing a money-off voucher code for the customer’s next order from you, or entering every shopper who reviews one of your products into a prize draw.

However, some stores might also consider providing a more comprehensive post-purchase support service to their most active customers, and perhaps personalised marketing emails instead of the generic messaging everyone else on the mailing list receives.

Launch a branded app for your store

This is a great example of relatively low-risk innovation, in that customers who prefer to shop the ‘old-fashioned way’, via your desktop site, will be able to continue doing so, while those who like the intuitiveness and convenience of an app have it as an option.

You do need to be sure of what your brand’s app will actually be for, however. Is it intended to be a shopping app, to boost customer loyalty, or even to provide a fulcrum for the creation of a community that will elevate your brand above being a mere online store?

Put together subscription packages

Online subscriptions have seemingly become all the rage in recent years, and with good reason. It’s been a while now since subscriptions were more-or-less just for magazines or consumable goods.

That’s because it’s even possible these days to subscribe to receive the likes of clothing, music and even pieces of art, with this business model helping many an online store to ‘lock in’ future orders from especially loyal shoppers.

All of the above steps can be considered ‘innovations’, without representing out-and-out risks to an ecommerce business’s future.

And don’t forget, too, that with the help of the right website design and SEO marketing expertise from professionals like ours here at Piranha Designs, you could be in an even better position to make an impact as an online merchant throughout 2020 and beyond.

How to foster trust among your online customers as coronavirus lockdowns loosen

Piranha Designs - Friday, June 05, 2020

There are welcoming signs of life beginning to return to some kind of ‘normal’ in the UK and across the world as the grim numbers associated with the COVID-19 pandemic gradually recede. But it’s not just brick-and-mortar businesses that need to prepare for a somewhat changed post-crisis landscape, as ecommerce stores will also have a lot to think about.

Indeed, the slowly brightening outlook means your store should probably be shifting its focus from its earlier lockdown ‘emergency’ measures to considerations of how you can cultivate longer-term loyalty from the customers you might have gained during this difficult period.

In order to do that, you’ll need to reassure them that your store is a trustworthy one, so that you can continue to attract their custom for months and years to come. Here are a few ways to accomplish exactly that.

Avoid any price hikes that you can’t explain or justify

Of course, not all retail businesses will have felt ‘on hold’ during the pandemic. The lockdown experience of a food or sanitary products seller, for example, is likely to have differed significantly from that of a high-end clothes label.

However, if you are in the fortunate position of stocking essential items, you should endeavour to maintain pricing of these at pre-pandemic levels. If price increases do need to happen, you should be careful to explain why, as even mere accusations of price gouging could hit your brand’s reputation.

Remove as much friction as possible from the checkout process

Many people will still be self-isolating, whether they have COVID-19 symptoms or are simply in a vulnerable demographic. These people will be especially reliant on online retail; for this reason, you won’t want to lumber them with an overlong and cumbersome checkout process.

These days, mobile payment systems such as Apple Pay can be built into online checkouts to enable shoppers to pay for their goods with a single tap or glance. This saves customers from having to register an account with the store in question, or even to manually type in their payment details, which will already be saved on their device.

Empathise with your audience

Difficulties related to the virus and the associated lockdown restrictions are clearly still widespread, which is why your customers might want particular reassurance that you will deliver them the items they need even as your own firm’s pressures start to bite.

Still, if your business isn’t serving high-end professionals, you should probably avoid using such phrases as “supply chain interruptions” or even – shudder – “unprecedented”. Instead, use simple, to-the-point terms like “we know times are confusing right now” or “our suppliers are working around the clock”.

If you aren’t a natural with written content, take heart that our SEO work includes the composition of blog posts that can keep your visitors updated on how your business is adjusting itself in the rapidly changing circumstances we’re all having to deal with right now.

Indeed, here at Piranha Designs, we possess wide-ranging website design and digital marketing expertise that could play an integral role in your ecommerce store’s efforts to thrive in the post-pandemic world. So why not contact us directly today to learn more?

5 things to consider adding to your site’s post-purchase ‘thank you’ pages

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, May 13, 2020

It’s easy for many online store owners to treat their post-purchase ‘thank you’ page – in other words, the page that greets the buyer immediately after they have made an order – as a bit of an afterthought. This page is also sometimes referred to as the ‘invoice page’, because in a lot of cases, it just contains the order details.

Simply leaving your ‘thank you’ page like that, though, would be a mistake. After all, this is a part of your site that those shopping with you will almost certainly look at, even if just to remind themselves of the specific details of their purchase – so it has sales-boosting potential in its own right.

With that in mind, here are just some of the elements you might consider incorporating into your site’s ‘thank you’ pages.

Suggestions of related items

This is something that Amazon has long done for its shoppers, suggesting to them items – such as key accessories – that others who bought the product they have just bought also ordered. It’s a great opportunity to flag up other offerings – such as adapters or batteries – that the customer might suddenly realise they also need.

An opportunity to sign up for email newsletters

You’ve got a captive audience, so why not use it to build up your store’s email contacts, tempting the customer to provide their email in exchange for further product updates, deals and advice?

One-click account creation

Inviting the customer to create an account with your site after they have placed their order will hammer home the message that you ask for their permission first, instead of signing them up for anything automatically. This, in turn, will help to boost the trust they have in your brand.

Sharing tools

Many shoppers like to tell their friends about things they’ve bought lately – so why not include Facebook, Twitter and Instagram share buttons that enable them to do so with a single click? It’s a step that will also get more people talking about your brand on social media in the right ways.

How-to videos

If the customer has just bought a product that they might need a little help to get to grips with, incorporating a ‘how to’ video into this key page of your site is likely to be appreciated. It’ll help to cultivate loyalty from shoppers who will see your site as a genuinely useful source of information, while minimising their need to reach out to your support team.

As you can see, a post-purchase ‘thank you’ page doesn’t have to be a mere plain confirmation of the shopper’s order. There’s a lot of scope to use yours as a means of increasing brand recognition, sales and revenue.

For a more detailed discussion about the website design knowhow that we could bring to your own brand, why not contact the Piranha Designs team in Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh today?

Why you shouldn’t skip having an FAQs page on your ecommerce site

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, May 05, 2020

If there’s one part of an online store that can be especially prone to being forgotten by many merchants, it might just be the FAQs page. ‘FAQs’, of course, stands for ‘frequently asked questions’, and you’ve almost certainly found this section of a website useful in the past.

Unfortunately, all too many online business owners are inclined to dismiss the potential relevance of such a page on their own site. Often, this may be because they presume all of their customers’ queries are likely to have already been answered elsewhere on the site.

So, here are just a few reasons why you should consider an FAQs page to be not only useful or important, but essential.

It saves time for everyone

If the customer is struggling to find information on your website on such vital matters as how your firm packages its goods for delivery or how your products can be used, guess what? Presuming they don’t simply exit your site and cost you the potential sale altogether, there’s a good chance that they’ll get in touch with your support staff directly, consuming both their and your time and energy.

It’s so needless, when you can just have an easy-to-understand FAQs page instead – especially given that there are almost certainly questions your customers will be constantly asking.

It makes the shopper feel less alone

We’ve all had those times in life when we’ve worried that we’re the weird ones, and that we’re the only ones who’re confused by a particular subject. Just think of the last time your friends or colleagues cracked a joke, and you were the only one who didn’t ‘get it’... you won’t want to leave your customers feeling like that.

Addressing common questions explicitly in an FAQs format can validate the shopper’s query, making them realise that they aren’t alone in having a particular thought or question about your brand, products or services.

It builds positive and long-lasting relationships

Think of all of the characteristics you’ll want target shoppers to associate with your ecommerce store... like trustworthiness, transparency, honesty, responsiveness and professionalism. A well-sorted FAQs page can increase the extent to which both long-time customers and casual visitors connect you in their heads to all of these things.

Having a frequently asked questions section, then, isn’t just a way of answering a few random questions and helping out a customer or two. It’s also about presenting a clear picture of your store as one that genuinely cares and is there for the customer, with nothing to hide.

Furthermore, the sheer amount of useful information on your FAQs page could be instrumental in keeping the customer on your site for longer, and more confident in deciding to buy from you, instead of hitting that ‘back’ button on their browser window.

So, you now know that an FAQs page is important – but how can you put together an effective one for your own site? Get in touch with the Piranha Designs team today, and we can incorporate such a page for you into our extensive design or redesign of your ecommerce website.

How to keep hold of your e-tailer’s new customers once COVID-19 passes

Piranha Designs - Thursday, April 16, 2020

All of the time and money you have invested in your brand’s ecommerce presence so far is likely to feel well-spent right now, as you reap the benefits of heightened sales during the pandemic. This is likely to be particularly the case if your store specialises in goods that could be deemed ‘essential’, at this time when many people are unable to even stay outside of their homes for long.

But are you also taking the opportunity to cultivate loyalty among your new customers, so that they continue to treat you as their go-to source of products after the worst of the outbreak is over? If not, here are some of the best ways to cement their custom in the longer term.

Be accurate about when and if products will be available

This is a time when customers are likely to be especially unforgiving about their orders being cancelled due to lack of stock. So, keeping on top of your inventory at any one time, and communicating this accurately via your online store’s products pages, are both a must. It’s also a better idea to delay than cancel orders altogether, if possible.

If certain products aren’t immediately available amid interruptions to workforces and supply chains, it’s better to be conservative about when you expect them to be so. That way, your customers may end up being pleasantly surprised by earlier-than-anticipated deliveries.

Personalise the service you provide

A personalised shopping experience continues to be a powerful way of encouraging loyalty during COVID-19 – the current circumstances aren’t an excuse to drop your standards in this respect.

So, such steps as sending an email update whenever there is a change in the status of an order, following up with further updates and reaching out later to help shoppers to remember your store, could all be invaluable right now.

Extend the return and exchange period

With so many of your customers stuck at home at the moment, making the returns process as little hassle as possible will help to ensure they associate your brand with the right qualities once some level of normal life resumes.

Don’t be humorous or political

Not everyone considers the pandemic to be a good source of comedy or will share your politics, so now isn’t a time to be taking risks with your ecommerce store’s marketing communications. Social media memes that might’ve worked well enough in pre-COVID-19 times could be perceived as ill-judged in the current circumstances, deterring followers and shoppers.

Observe shifting buyer habits

While not everything about how people are shopping during the outbreak will last for long once life returns to normal, other habits are likely to endure. Some of the brick-and-mortar retailers that customers depended on prior to the pandemic won’t survive to reopen, and even if they do, your own ecommerce site could become a new and trusted source of goods for these shoppers.

Make the right moves now to capture customers and encourage them to continue shopping with you, and your brand is likely to be in a powerful position long after the coronavirus has ceased to dominate the news. Getting in touch with Piranha Designs about our ecommerce website design expertise could further help to ensure your business’s growth in the months and years ahead.

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.


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