Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Warehouse High Street

Sometime ago in this blog I predicted the end of the high street - Woe, woe & thrice woe! In that post I wrote,
Soon the bricks and mortar shop will double up as a warehouse for the online shop(s) as internet sales see a decisive shift to predominance. The high street is where the window shopping will occur while the transaction is done online. ... Their physical shops are now provisioning hubs for their online outlets, busy with actual shoppers only one or two days a week.

This is now an emerging trend, with retailers offering "Click & Collect" points within existing stores, and some "thin" shops opening, where the shop is little more than a display window, and staff act as "consultants". The shop is effectively little more than a "click and collect" warehouse.

The high street has been caught in the middle of a number of trends and policies that discriminated against traditional high street retailers. Planning policy, almost non existent regulatory controls on anti-competitive trading practices, & economies of scale favours the out of town hypermarkets, parking charges and congestion further undermine the town centre, while high rates discriminate against the small, "boutique" offerings that might make the high street an interesting "shopping destination". Most high street and town centre mall offerings are sterile, uniform experiences that are less and less appealing to consumers.

One high street retailer that has done something interesting and successful is Apple. Their stores appear overrun with enthusiastic staff, who seem to be incentivised to help customers as well as sell stuff. Nor do they discriminate against customers who have bought an Apple product online or even second hand - once you own one of their products, you become part of the Apple "family". I recently took an iPhone I'd bought off eBay into an Apple store & a member of staff spent an hour resolving an issue I had - that's customer service normally restricted to in-store purchases (if you're lucky).

It might be this kind of approach to retailing that helps to save the smaller type of high street retailer. The move to online "click and collect" is sold as customer convenience but its really about reducing costs via cutting stock and staff levels. The loss of customer service that this will entail is where the smaller retailers may be able to offer an "experience" advantage to their customers - that's if there's a high street left after this recession is over.

UPDATE: Recent report on New Look says that 25% of their online sales are "Click & Collect", while they plan to reduce their shop portfolio by approximately 100 stores.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Web Design Musings: Skip Hire Leicester

Web Design Musings: Skip Hire Leicester

Skip Hire Leicester

leicester skip hire home page

Leicester Skips, a new website for Leicester skip hire company, Bakers Waste, has just gone live.
Leicester web designers, Fresh Web Services, designed the Joomla website to be optimised for both search engines and for customer conversions. Using 'conversion led design' customers are gently guided to request a callback or use the online skip hire order form.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Google update & social media

As you may recall, we've been doing an seo experiment, trying to get our client on page one for skip hire leicester using only on-page optimisation.

We've had some success, getting to #6 on the first page. However, a recent update (Panda) by Google may be a game changer. Google is now taking greater account of what is termed "user signals" when ranking a website.

"User signals" has been interpreted as "Social signals", meaning how many "likes" and links to your website you have from social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc. It might also include such things as bounce rates (if people don't "engage" with your website, why should Google send anymore people there, etc).

The implications are that seo has just got harder! You will certainly now need to focus on "social" link building, keeping your "social" profile updated, with more tweeting and "sharing" and extending your social network.

Therefore its time to consider your social media strategy as part of your more general seo strategy. In short, work harder!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Bowl Feeder Sensors from Olympic Automation

Our web design and seo client, Olympic Automation, asked us to add another page to their website. This page is about vibratory bowl sensors, which are used conjunction with vibratory bowl feeders and linear or conveyor feed tracks.

We've had tremendous success with our seo efforts for Olympic Automation, who rank #1 in Google for their key phrases such as vibratory bowl feeders. We expect to repeat this success with this new campaign.

Contact us to see out how we might help your search engine optimisation.

UPDATE - Olympic Automation are now #1 on Google for the search terms 'vibratory bowl sensors' & 'bowl feeder sensors'!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Skip Hire Leicester - an seo experiment part 5

Well, Bakers Waste Services are now 6th in Google's natural search results for the term "skip hire leicester". Three cheers all round - well nearly.

The problem is that while 6th position is normally page one rankings, in this case Google's local search pushes 6th position onto the second page! So, the quest now is to improve Bakers Waste Services' local search rankings.

However, what this experiment does seem to indicate is that things such as page rank, number of inbound links, etc, are not necessarily the key to good rankings. Rather, in this instance it would seem that good, relevant content is the key to success.