E-commerce online trust cheatsheet

Last month we explored Merchandising your online store. Important tips to help create the retail space and showcase your swag.

Specifically, we looked at how successful ecommerce websites have taken principles from the high street, and applied them online.

But alas, it’s not always enough to just have a pretty shop with amazing images and decadent descriptions. That helps. But there’s typically only 3 reasons why someone won’t buy.

  • They don’t need it right now
  • They can’t afford it right now
  • Or they don’t trust you.

Today, we’re going to deal with the last point.

<< Skip article and go straight to the cheat sheet>>

Real shop vs web shop

There are lots of indicators in the real world in regards to trust. When you visit a shop, you can see what the place is like. Would you feel different if the luxury watch shop you’re about to visit is a garage at the back of a semi?

You get to meet sales assistants in a real store. If they are friendly and helpful then that alone can help to build trust. But you’ll also feel more confident about making a purchase if you believe you can pop back in, should you get any issues.

What’s more, unless you’re particularly important or your shopping habits are rather niche, chances are you will probably notice other people shopping at the same time as you. It’s human nature to find this reassuring.

But is it really all that different online?

It’s certainly a lot trickier to see this kind of stuff in cyberspace but there is still plenty we can do to send out the same reassuring signals.

1. Appearance

webshop appearance, image of run down shop

Luxury watches. All enquiries, round the back

Perception is reality and appearance is everything. You’ll have felt the almost subliminal vibes you get when you approach a shop that’s not quite up to scratch. Hmm, on second thoughts…

The same instincts apply online. An unprofessional design leads to users bouncing right off your homepage in seconds. In fact, studies show users only need 50 milliseconds (that’s just 0.05 seconds) to form an opinion on your website. If they don’t get the right vibes in those split seconds, they’ll be jumping ship, sharpish.

Quality design doesn’t have to be expensive. Sure, it might cost more than getting your neighbour’s son’s mate at the rugby club to knock something together. But as the famous saying goes. “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” Red Adair.

What works on the high street:

Decent area, good signage, nice shop

What works online:

Quality branding, professional design, looks good across multiple screen sizes


2. Maintenance

oranges to reflect fresh content

Fresh new relevant content. Great for Google, and your customers

You walk up to a cake shop, intending to have a conversation about a pug shaped 60th birthday cake for granny. But there’s something not quite right. There’s rubbish outside and the windows need cleaning. The cakes on display in the window are halloween themed. It’s March.

Inside there are boxes everywhere, empty shelves and faded posters on the wall. The shop owner has popped out. But that’s ok, you can read last November’s copy of Cosmo while you wait. Eek.

You’ll want to avoid this uncertainty online. Regularly maintaining the site and adding fresh content makes our online shop look open and ship shape.

What works on the high street:

Someone available, clean and tidy environment, up-to-date products / literature

What works online:

Up-to-date slides on homepage, fresh content on blog, regular audits to fix any broken links

3. Availability

lady on the phone demonstrating webshop availability

There’s nothing quite as reassuring as being able to pick up the phone and speak to someone

Ever walked into a shop where there’s a little bell on the counter? ‘Ring for assistance’. No problem. Ding. Nothing. Polite wait because we’re British. Ding, ding. Nothing. There doesn’t appear to be anyone here. Hello??

Sounds a bit off-putting, right. So, on your website, make sure there are ample ways to get in touch. That could be as simple as a prominent phone number, social media links, or live chat.

Live chat can be an incredibly powerful way to convert online browsers into buyers. Just make sure you’ve the resources to power it. Be present, respond quickly. Like Yoda says “Do, or do not. There is no try”.

What works on the high street:

Attentive, friendly but unobtrusive sales assistants

What works online:

UK based landline, responsive social media, active live chat

4. Security

helmet metaphor. Security, trust, protection

Protect your particulars with good online security measures

In the real world, you expect a level of security in a store. Similarly online, you expect a website to be safe. Clearly that means no nasty pop ups or malware. It’s important to keep your website up-to-date to stamp out vulnerabilities.

But more commonly we’re talking about keeping your data safe. That’s personal details and credit card information. Having an SSL certificate installed on your site ensures you keep sensitive data safe. It also stops Google Chrome telling people your site is insecure, which can happen if you do not have SSL. Use recognised payment gateways to gain people’s trust. Talk to us about SSL, we can help.

What works on the high street:

Modern equipment, real people, accepts major credit cards

What works online:

SSL, trusted payment gateways, keeping the site up-to-date, privacy policy

5. Social Proof

sheep metaphor to demonstrate power of online testimonials and reviews

Customers like to follow the crowd

People don’t like making buying decisions. It can stress them out.

So it comes as no surprise that we often prefer to delegate the due diligence to someone else. That’s why we’ll ask our friends and neighbours where they got theirs from.

Sometimes all it takes is a little recommendation from an existing customer and we’re happy to go with the flow.

What works on the high street:

Word of mouth, seeing other shoppers

What works online:

Testimonials, reviews, Trustpilot

6. Assurances

online ecommerce assurances and guarantees

Nothing like a good old fashioned guarantee or free trial

Despite a rapid growth in confidence when ordering online, some people just prefer the natural assurances associated with visiting the high street. If you aren’t 100% happy with a product, the perception (although not always accurate) is that you can just take it back.

That’s usually easier to do with a shop purchase compared to online. To mitigate this, you may want to offer some assurances like free returns or a money back guarantee.

Depending on what you sell, distance selling regulations may mean you need to give consumers 14 days to change their mind anyway. But go over and above the minimum requirements to make a feature of your customer service and reduce any perception of risk. A hassle free returns process can alleviate potential worries and supercharge your online sales.

Use logos from awards, accreditations and organisations you belong to, to help boost your legitimacy with third party endorsements.

What works on the high street:

Being able to take something back

What works online:

Free returns, money back guarantee, accreditations


Here’s your cheat sheet to building trust and credibility on your online e-commerce store:

  • Quality branding
  • Professional design
  • Looks good on desktop screens, tablets and phones
  • Up-to-date slides on homepage
  • Fresh content on blog
  • Regular audits to fix any broken links
  • UK based landline
  • Responsive social media
  • Active live chat
  • SSL
  • Trusted payment gateways
  • Using the latest version of software
  • Privacy policy
  • Testimonials
  • Reviews
  • Trustpilot
  • Clear policies
  • Accreditations
  • Free returns
  • Money back guarantee

Merchandising your online store

Getting the most from selling online

Part one: Merchandising your online store

As more and more people get in the e-commerce action it’s important to remember how it all started. Shops and stores showcased their products, built their reputation, looked after their customer base and spread the word.

Although as technology and behaviour changes, and a whopping £133bn a year is spent online, has the philosophy behind retail success really changed at all? Or have popular e-commerce stores taken the essence of what works on the high street and simply delivered these values online?

It may seem like a whole new ballgame but the principles of our offline shopping experience remain steadfast in our experiences online. Utilising these principles in the online world will help you get the most from your website:

  1. Merchandising your online store
  2. Credibility and trust
  3. Customer experience
  4. Making yourself known

Merchandising your online store

Seeing as your product is the star of the show, today we’re going to start with #1, merchandising your online store. Let’s begin by checking off some important tips to help you showcase your swag.

Real world example of e-commerce merchandising done well

merchandising online store best exampleOnline fashion retailer asos.com do pretty much everything right. The site is oozing with aspirational lifestyle images, detailed glamorous product images and cat walk videos.

On the one hand they face a significant challenge. After all, traditionally people like to browse a store and try clothes on. But on the other hand, they have the advantage of tapping into an emotive subject, fashion. Or even deeper, public perception and self image.

How important is photography to my webshop?

ecommerce product photography

When you’re in a real shop, you see the item how it is. Not a small blurry version of it. Seeing is believing. So a lot of effort needs to go into reproducing that visual experience.

You’ve been on gumtree or eBay. The items with the best and most photos stand out. The ropey photos make you think twice. So it’s no surprise that e-commerce sites with great product images outperform ones without.

Good photography improves the perceived quality of your product, can communicate lifestyle values and increase how credible and trustworthy your site appears. We suggest you get a professional photographer to help. It’ll be a smart investment long term. You can use the photos in your marketing, as well as on your product pages.

We can arrange professional photography for you or make a local recommendation. However, if you do not have the budget available right now, you can always shoot the images yourself. Just be sure to consider your lighting and backdrop. Whether you’re using your smartphone or a decent camera, set up a mini studio. Use a tripod, lamp and studio tent. Aim for good light, contrast and consistency. No blurry images, kitchens, bathrooms or unrelated objects in sight!

What product descriptions work well?

Paint a picture. Quality product descriptions help get the sale over the line. They are also very useful for search engines. So your goal is to have words that not only describe the product, but go beyond that.

Sure, list the features, but what are the benefits?
What problem does the item solve? How does it make you feel?

The ‘feature’ of a toy product might be ‘batteries included’. The benefit is that the child can start playing with the toy straight away. Avoids the tears from disappointed littl’uns. Avoids frowning parents making an impromptu dash to the shops.

Tell stories about the product and use words that describe how it sounds, smells, feels, looks. These things will all help elicit an emotional response from the reader.

Scattered throughout this explanation should be a few choice keywords, for search reasons. But it’s important this sounds natural, like a real person would actually say it. No broken English or robotic sounding phrases – this will just put your buyer off.

When you walk around a shop, you don’t read every bit of information, it’s impossible. You scan for bitesize info that you can quickly act upon. This applies online too. So Use headlines, subheadings and bullet points within your description to make your text easier to pick out and absorb.

Does my e-commerce site need product reviews?

It helps, yes. Social proof. Just like in the real world, people are way more likely to believe what someone else has said about a product over what you’ve said yourself.

Especially if that someone has already bought and received the item. Did you know, 61% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase decision?

And if people are on the fence between a couple of options, they’re likely to go for the one with the most positive reviews. In fact, 50 or more reviews per product can lead to a 4.6 increase in sales.

What other information will help people buy?

It’s summer, you want to get fit and spend more time with the family. So find yourself meandering round a bicycle shop scouting for bikes for the family. It’s understandable that you might want some advice to help you decide what bikes suit you best.

Online, in the absence of a smiling sales assistant, your web shop needs to compensate by offering useful guides matched to expected customer queries.

In this instance, you’ll want to have content that explains what type of bike suits your usage, and especially a size guide. Content be articles, illustrations or videos and could cover things like:

  1. FAQs,
  2. Size Guides,
  3. Comparisons,
  4. Performance charts,
  5. Instructions,
  6. Assembly Guides (if it’s simple!)

What type of video drives e-commerce sales?

video content ecommerce sales

Have you heard of the term ‘showrooming’? That’s where potential buyers peruse the high street shop to browse before hitting the internet to find the best deal online.

But reverse showrooming, or ‘webrooming’, occurs when customers browse online but head to a bricks and mortar shop to complete their purchase. There is an increased risk of this when your website either fails to provide enough information about the product. Or the consumers desire to see the product in action isn’t met.

There’s no better substitute for actually being there than video. Until AR/VR takes over then it’s the best thing we’ve got to demonstrate what the product looks like and how it’s used. Videos that showcase product dimensions, as well as product functionality tend to be really helpful.

Ultimately, it’s good to have video because tests show product videos help sell more.
What’s more,

  • 71% of shoppers think video explains the product better
  • 58% think companies with product videos are more trustworthy

It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. The videos on asos.com are simple but effective. They film the model wearing the clothes marching glamorously onto the set, ready to take the photos. Two birds, one stone.

As a guide shorter videos work best. But although reviews are generally a good thing, research has shown that videos of someone reviewing a product, tended to be a flop with the audience.

How can I design my website to upsell more products?

web design grouping products online for ecommerce sales

In stores, product placement is important. Items are often grouped together or advertised as a bundle. Coffee pods by the coffee machines, matching bathroom decor, a discount on shaving products with purchase of razor, that sort of thing.

Plus we are bombarded with last minute impulse buys. Whether it’s batteries by the conveyor belt or the friendly sales assistant on the till. How often have you been asked to consider something extra that you hadn’t originally put in your basket? We heard about one petrol station asking their customers if they’d be interested in the chewing gum deal. Possibly a bit rude. Gum, anyone?

But it works and that’s why they do it. Your website can do this even better, because it can offer a never-ending array of products to you, without getting annoying. Imagine someone at the checkout offering you 1 product after another, how annoying. And yet your website can display dozens of products throughout the customer journey. As you browse the pages, as you add items to your wishlist and basket, it can follow you around saying “Wow, great choice. Why not get this with it? Other customers bought them together you know.”

What makes an effective webshop category page?

Supermarkets and department stores organise their goods into sections, aisles and departments, so shoppers can better make sense of it all. It helps people find what they want quickly, immerses them in a relevant environment, and adds an element of control to the customer journey.

This is where your category pages come in. They add structure, navigation, enjoyment and momentum to the shoppers journey.

Good category pages will introduce shoppers to subcategories, holding their hand through the journey and guiding them effortlessly to the products they are looking for.

Make sure you use enticing images and descriptions. They will be useful and reassuring for your visitors and also a great place to put your key search terms, ready for those googlebots to find.

Include a customer service bar at the top to build trust. This section could feature a phone number, free delivery message and hassle free returns badge. Don’t overload it with too much info, just enough to reassure the buyer and nudge them along.

How can I keep on top of stock control?

High street stores have limited space. Efficient stock control is the key to having the right amount of stock in the right place, maximising the opportunity for sales.

Most ecommerce platforms have systems in place to help you stay in control of stock levels. But what if you have a physical shop too? How can your till, website, and inventory software keep talking to maintain a healthy stress-free relationship?

If you have an epos now or datasym system, we can help connect your website to your epos equipment and automatically synchronise stock levels between your web shop and your retail stock.

  • We’ll import your products from your system
  • Review products, add images and detailed descriptions
  • Sync your stock levels automatically
  • When you sell an item, the stock on your till is automatically updated
  • Get paid into your merchant account and process the order
  • Despatch or allow ‘click and collect’ and send email notifications to clients

Contact your local studio to get started.

So you see, the values embedded in successful bricks and mortar retail can be harnessed to great effect online, where the potential for sales is greater.

Hope you found part one useful. Coming next, part two, Credibility and trust.
But for now, in the words of retail, ‘Thanks, please come again’.

12 of the worst election promo blunders

1. The curse of the ill positioned fold
If you’re going to have a large headline or name crossing a fold on your campaign leaflet, try it out before you print 500,000 of them.

2. The “Edstone”
The stone containing Labour’s manifesto became a source of near universal ridicule. It was compared to the stone tablets in the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments, and to a cemetery headstone. In a matter of hours Twitter users had declared it the “EdStone”.


3. Bringing Germany to England
Beware of using stock photography. The green fields and rolling hills were actually photographed outside the German city of Weimar, birthplace of the famously doomed 20th Century government, defined by economic catastrophe and subsequently replaced by the Nazi party.

4. Don’t contradict yourself.
Voters won’t take you seriously if you don’t have a clear message.

4. David Cameron forgets which football team he pretends to support
During a speech on diversity, David Cameron accidentally dubbed himself a West Ham fan despite normally claiming to support Aston Villa. That was awkward.

6. Ukip loses election because candidate didn’t spell party name correctly
It is believed the Ukip hopeful, who has not been identified, wrote ‘UKIP’ as the name of their party on the paperwork. Strict Electoral Commission rules state the candidate should have written ‘UK Independence Party’, as the name of the party must be written in full. As a result, Labour’s Liz Smith won the election by default with a grand total of zero votes.

7. The bigoted woman
Gordon Brown is overheard describing an exchange he had with a female voter as a “disaster” and calling her a “bigoted woman”.

8. Is your message ambiguous?
Get a second opinion before you commit to a design layout to make sure it can’t be interpreted in an unfortunate way!

9. Make yourself look friendly.
If you’re using a photograph of yourself on your election marketing, make sure it doesn’t scare away the voters.

10. Always check your spelling and grammar.

11. Beware of placeholder text.
It’s best if you replace these bits with your own words.

12. Vote Name Surname.

Having the candidate’s name on any promotional material is quite important

Cadet’s Log: Kate Roughley

Kate Roughly, a recent Graphic Design and Multimedia graduate, shares her thoughts on joining our Nettl Academy as a Nettl Cadet.

When I started at the Nettl academy, I felt nervous and excited. I graduated from the University of Worcester last November after finishing my course in May. I have missed designing every day since I finished, and I grabbed the chance to design again at the Nettl Academy.

I travelled down to Birmingham on the first day and felt welcome as soon as I arrived. I met the other designers on the course and we all soon broke the ice and got chatting. I’ve been working full time in retail since I left university so it was great to be around other designers again in this atmosphere.

Chris and Simon who have been leading the course are great at teaching and really friendly too. I love being able to learn again. We have been focussing on web design on the course and learning about Brambl and WordPress. I didn’t do much web design during my time at university so I was looking forward to this chance to learn new skills as a designer.

We began with a group task which was really fun, we were given a brief then had to talk it through, create a launch project for a juice bar and then show our work to the rest of the group. This was nice to start off with and I enjoyed all of it. Even presenting at the end, which I never thought I’d miss!

We then learnt how to use Brambl, a platform Nettl have to make web design more efficient. I’ve only ever used code before which I found difficult and Brambl is much more visual which I definitely prefer. Being able to build the website panel by panel and adjust it visually is easier for me.

classroom training in great room training room birmingham nettl academy

After that we looked at WordPress which is a little harder to use than Brambl. Brambl is great but quite simple, whereas WordPress gives more freedom to me as a designer. Being able to use plug-ins, its free to use by anyone, and CSS code can be added to personalise the site even more. I prefer WordPress out of the two platforms as even though it is harder to use, I know that I can still learn how to use it well and then have more freedom with my design work.

We have been given a brief from The Printing Charity and as a group, we are all redesigning their current website individually. This is such a fantastic opportunity as I get to design again and work with a client. The Printing Charity wants a fresh new website that is clearer and easier to follow so the audience can find out what the charity does and how it helps people, as well as letting them donate if they want to.

So far I’ve redesigned the home page for the site and kept it clean and simple, using images of the people involved to help the user connect more with the charity and I’ve stuck to the colours that are already being used. These colours are really bold and look great on screen, it gives the website much more of an impact. I can’t wait to redesign the whole website which will hopefully lead to more opportunities.

I’ve been really enjoying my time at Nettl so far and getting to work with such a great company of creatives. I’m getting to grow each week as a designer and learn new skills which I’m really grateful for.

The Nettl Academy recently opened it’s doors to welcome the first batch of Nettl Cadets onto the training programme. The Nettl Academy is a way for design graduates to gain some experience, get on-the-job coaching and real-world training.

nettl cadets academy launch web training group photo

Could you cut it at Cadets?

If you’re a design student, or you know one, we are looking for applicants for next term.

Click to find our more about the Nettl Academy or enrol.

Cadet’s Log: Sean Comrie

After graduating with a degree in Illustration and Animation, Sean Comrie heard about a ‘cool design experience opportunity’ on the horizon. Welcome aboard the Nettl Academy, Sean. Give us your thoughts on becoming one of our first Nettl Cadets.

“I had spent a couple months working a typical supermarket job whilst desperately trying to find some kind of creative inspiration, admittedly more days spent not designing at all and just focusing on working a very normal job. So hearing of an opportunity where I would get to learn some design skills and get real life design brief experience to me felt like a total win, as at university I had never really experienced doing any commissioned-style projects because that was more catered for the Illustration Graphics/Fine Art students.

Initially, I was very nervous, as I thought maybe I’d lost my edge. I hadn’t designed anything to show others in a while. My projects prior to starting had very much been private and mainly unfinished. But everyone at Nettl put me at ease because they are very friendly and it almost feels like a little family relationship rather than just serious business.

The lessons on web design run at a good pace and are made easy to keep up with, especially for someone like myself with zero experience in web design. After the first couple of sessions using their in-house web design software, Brambl and WordPress, I am slowly getting a better grip of designing for web.

I understand the things required to make an appealing and successful website. In addition to this, the critiques after the sometimes one-day deadline projects are very helpful as they get you thinking of where you can improve and practice quick thinking and execution.

sean critiquing a website design

During these projects you also get to work with some of the other cadets. It’s a nice experience meeting new people from different places, much like university again, which is something I really enjoy.

Over the last week I was challenged to create two logo designs for two different types of companies which is something brand new to me as normally logo design is out of my field. But doing this was great fun and I feel like it’s eventually something I will be able to say is part of my designers repertoire.

As I continue through this programme I hope to continue honing such skills and develop others.

The Nettl Academy recently opened it’s doors to welcome the first batch of Nettl Cadets onto the training programme. The Nettl Academy is a way for design graduates to gain some experience, get on-the-job coaching and real-world training.

Could you cut it at Cadets?

If you’re a design student, or you know one, we are looking for applicants for next term.

Click to find our more about the Nettl Academy or enrol.

nettl cadets academy launch web training group photo

Cadet’s Log: Tom Read

Tom Read, a current Illustration & Graphic Design student at Coventry University, and one of our first Cadets, shares his experience of the Nettl Academy:

“As soon as I heard about the opportunity to gain real world experience in a professional design studio, I jumped at the chance head first. Something like this isn’t a regular occurrence and having that kind of experience under your belt is vital to a successful career in design.

Situated in the centre of Birmingham, 5 minutes from New Street train station, the Nettl studio is everything I imagined it to be; modern, quirky and well equipped. Plenty of seating areas, a generously sized meeting room and enough Mac computers to satisfy any Apple fan boy. But the best thing about the studio is its in-house coffee shop supplying the fuel that keeps us designers going!

“The skills we would be developing though out the course were clearly highlighted to us at the start of the programme; the ability to use web building software to create responsive and attractive websites, vital techniques needed to be able to print a range of documents and imagery and marketing, sales and general business skills needed to communicate with potential clients.

“Sounds like a lot of complicated work, but this isn’t the case as the professionals that work at Nettl are there to guide you every step of the way. They run though everything in great detail so there’s no need to feel like you’re unsure as to how something works or is produced.

“I am currently in my final year at Coventry University studying Illustration and Graphic design so as you can imagine, my current background isn’t web design at all. In fact, I’ve only ever messed around with basic web programmes like Adobe Dreamweaver and Muse and so have had no solid experience so you could say I’m a complete novice at this. But fear not, as this does not matter when you enrol onto the Academy course as the professionals will teach you everything you need to know from the ground up from setting up the site to publishing it.

nettl web cadets discuss

“So, 2 months in and I have learned an incredible amount about this industry. I can say now that I can create a fully functional website using a range of building software completely independently; something I could only have dreamed of beforehand. I am also more aware of key marketing and sales skills to be aware of as well as how to work efficiently with clients to ensure a smooth working partnership is achieved.

“Anyone looking for some solid industry experience should look no further as the answer is right under their noses. The Nettl Academy is exactly that, solid industry experience. I am incredibly grateful for everything I have been taught so far and hope this list only grows over the next coming weeks!

The Nettl Academy recently opened it’s doors to welcome the first batch of Nettl Cadets onto the training programme. The Nettl Academy is a way for design graduates to gain some experience, get on-the-job coaching and real-world training.

Could you cut it at Cadets?

If you’re a design student, or you know one, we are looking for applicants for next term.

Click to find our more about the Nettl Academy or enrol.

nettl cadets academy launch web training group photo

Cadet’s Log: Chris Locke

The Nettl Academy recently opened it’s doors to welcome the first batch of Nettl Cadets onto the training programme. The Nettl Academy is a way for design graduates to gain some experience, get on-the-job coaching and real-world training.

Here, Chris Locke, one of our first cadets, speaks about his experience so far.

“At the Nettl Academy I’ve been taught how to use certain online applications such as WordPress and the company’s own Brambl to make professional looking websites in very little time.

“The intense series of tutorials have helped to show me how a studio workflow revolves around speed and reliability. Building websites quickly and to a high standard is something I didn’t think I’d be able to do two months ago, but I’m doing two or three in a day now.

“It’s allowed me to get through the swamp of setup relatively quickly and actually get down to designing things, using the skills I honed at university.

“It’s something I can put on my CV, that I’m learning from, and that easily allows me to work a part time while still being involved in the industry I really want to get into. We all know it’s a terrible time trying to find something directly out of university.

“It’s given me a reasonable example of how a studio naturally works. The change of pace is the most substantial difference, making for an invigorating experience. My colleagues and I are receiving a better experience of work than we did at university, and from professionals as well.

“What’s more, it’s free and doesn’t eat into my schedule too much. We can come and go as we please at the studio any day of the week, and Nettl have given us the ability to use web creation software at home as well – though not professionally of course.

“Our input on projects is listened to and we are given proper, harsh advice that we can actually build upon. Not to say that the staff are any less than lovely. Everyone’s friendly and willing to help you out. Simon’s an excellent tutor, down to earth and concise.

Could you cut it at Cadets?

If you’re a design student, or you know one, we are looking for applicants for next term.

Click to find our more about the Nettl Academy or enrol.

nettl cadets academy launch web training group photo

Introducing Nettl Now

Nettl now: Same day printing, delivered FREE in 4 hours

We’re pleased to announce the launch of Nettl now this week.
Our solution to your on-demand print needs.

Nettl now offers a range of popular print products, delivered direct to you for free, in as little as 4 hours. You can order anything from one poster to a few hundred flyers. The service was created in response to client demand. Our studios tell us they are constantly being asked to help with last minute jobs and get clients out of a pickle.

The rapid turnaround is the perfect tonic for when print is needed urgently. Perhaps:

  • You’ve been let down by another printer,
  • Someone forgot to order,
  • You’ve spotted a last minute event opportunity,
Panic not. The NEW fangled way to get printing & display, when you downright must have it today!

Clients place their order online at www.nettlnow.com, upload their print file and then choose a delivery slot, starting within 4 hours. Their order is then printed, packed and delivered that day by dedicated bike or van.

nettl now same day print delivery outside nettl web studio manchester

Our pilot service is available in Manchester right now, and following a successful trial period will be rolled out to a further 10 locations and beyond, with plans to offer Nettl now in all major cities across the UK.

Free delivery with Nettl Now is available in the following Manchester postcodes now: M1, M2, M3, M4, M5, M6, M7, M13, M14, M15, M16, M17, M21, M27, M30, M32, M33, M41 and M50. The service covers the city centre, Ardwick, Ancoats, Blackfriars, Brooklands, Castlefield, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Chorlton-on-Medlock, Clifton, Davyhulme, Deansgate, Flixton, Greengate, Hulme, Fallowfield, Ladybarn, Longsight, Manchester Science Park, Media City, Moss Side, Northern Quarter, Old Trafford, Piccadilly, Pendlebury, Rusholme, Trafford Park, Sale, Salford Quays, Stetford, Swinton, University, Urmston, Wardley and Whalley Range.

Become a Nettl Nowmaker

Does your business make digital print or posters? Register to find out more about becoming a Nettl Nowmaker,

How to get More Web Enquiries

Top 6 tips to get more web enquiries and grow your client list

People are busy and easily distracted. So how do you encourage visitors to stay a bit longer on your website, find what they need, and get in touch easily? Ultimately, how can you convert your web traffic into web enquiries?

There’s no magic formula, but research has shown these simple steps can help:

  1. Be clear about what you’re offering
  2. Write for the web
  3. Make it easy to get in touch
  4. Build trust and credibility
  5. Be mobile friendly
  6. Keep it up to date

1. Be Clear About What You’re Offering

clear web proposition - sign showing what is on offer on santa monica pier

When someone arrives on your site, you don’t have a lot of time. You need to make it clear who you are, what you offer, and what do I need to do to take action?

Headlines and straplines are incredibly important. That’s because, in very few words, they give you the opportunity to summarise what the company, website or page is all about.

As well as words, you can use images, icons and video to communicate your message effectively.

A great example of this is Dropbox’s homepage. The snippet of text clearly says “Get to all of your files from anywhere, on any device, and share them with anyone.”

dropbox website homepage landing page example

There you go. That’s exactly what they can do for you. In one sentence. And to complete this fabulous landing page, a very simple form. You know exactly what you need to do next. Apply this simple approach to your website and you’re sure to increase web enquiries.

2. Write for the Web

People read differently on the web. They tend to scan and pick up snippets.

Typically, users read less than 30% of the page, and this is mostly the top section and headings. Attention declines dramatically as they move down the page. So it’s a good idea to put the most important information first and get your message across in the headings.

By getting a clear, unified message through to your audience, you stand a much better chance of communicating value and purpose, which will in turn encourage more web enquiries.

In general, it’s best to use simple language. Avoid jargon and complicated terms. Government advice regarding writing for web suggests people prefer to read information in plain English ‘because it allows them to understand the information as quickly as possible’. Writing in CAPITAL LETTERS is more difficult to read. It also looks a bit shouty, so should be avoided anyway.

  • Make the text easier to read by using:
  • Short sentences
  • Sub headings
  • Bullet points
  • Highlighted keywords

3. Make it Easy to Get in Touch

This one sounds obvious but it’s often overlooked. Typically, the 2nd highest visited page, other then the main homepage, is the contact page. People are searching for your business online, just so they can get in touch.

So to boost your web enquiries, give them what they want, nice and early. Consider putting your phone number in the header. Make sure the footer has your phone number and email details.

If you have a business where the location is important, like a hotel, shop or restaurant for instance, then make a big effort to clearly show where you are and how to find you.

A clear CTA (Call To Action) should exist at the bottom of each page. There’s potential for multiple CTA’s throughout the page at different sections. The goal is to make it very clear what the visitor needs to do next. This could be anything as simple as a

  • Telephone number
  • Email Address
  • Contact form
  • Link to social media
  • Button to apply/register/download/read more

Consider adding a live chat feature to encourage engagement. Although we’d only advise this if you have the resources. At least one person needs to be available to monitor and respond to the enquiries. An idle chat can look understaffed and have a detrimental effect.

4. Build Trust and Credibility

Building trust is especially important for businesses that sell online. Customers will want to feel an extra level of reassurance. After all, there’s an element of the unknown about the internet. You want to feel safe handing over your payment details. You want to feel confident nan’s present is going to arrive on time.

But for websites that don’t sell, credibility is still often the primary objective. That’s the case for most brochure websites. Visitors typically arrive for the first time, usually after hearing about the company in some way.

This may have been through personal contact, recommendation, online search or a piece of marketing literature. Visitors will be looking for indications that the company is professional and able to deliver on it’s promises.

People like to do a little digging.

Here are 5 ways to help boost your credibility and increase web enquiries:

Get an SSL Certificate

Having an SSL certificate on your site means the data passed between your site and your visitor is secure. SSL helps you gain trust from potential customers and makes you look more professional. Your local studio can help you buy and setup SSL.

Look the Part

Professional design and well written copy is of paramount importance. Even subliminally, good design will go a long way towards the perception of your brand. By association, if the website is high quality, your product or service is high quality. SEO expert, Rand Fishkin of moz.com believes ‘Design isn’t just important, it’s 50% of the battle’.

Use Testimonials and Accreditations

People are far more likely to believe what someone else has said about your business than what you say yourself. It’s human nature. So combine great design with industry accreditations, and social proof.

Use testimonials as a powerful way to say how great you are. Work them into relevant case studies to demonstrate your capability. This will really cement your credibility and encourage users to take the next step with confidence.

Allow Visitors to ‘Meet the Team’

Our experience tells us that ‘meet the team’ pages are very popular destinations. Typically only falling behind the home page and contact page in terms of visits. It’s easy to see why, people like doing business with people.

Publish a Blog

Another popular hotspot for visitors are blogs or latest news sections. Not only does a fresh, relevant blog keep Google happy, it also helps position your company as experts in your field.

5. Be Mobile Friendly

mobile friendly mobile first web on the go

Or perhaps even ‘Mobile First’. That means designing your site primarily with your phone user in mind. Sure, it has to look great on a desktop too, but with more and more people browsing on their phones these days, considering their needs first would not be a bad thing.

Think about it, if you’re checking the web on the go, you don’t want to struggle to do what you want to do. Encourage mobile web enquiries by making things quick and simple to do on a phone.

People are often ‘quickly’ doing something on their phone, while they’re doing something else. Quickly sign up for this, quickly pay that bill, quickly book a table… If your website doesn’t support ‘quickly’ then you’ll quickly be shown the door.

Things to watch out for are:

  • Text too small to read
  • Buttons too small to click
  • Forms too tricky to navigate
  • Hefty images and downloads

If you have to pinch and zoom to work your way around the site, time to change, speak to one of our Nettl Web Studios.

6. Keep Your Website Up To Date

gone fishing sign for web enquiries

Google likes fresh, new, relevant content, but so do real people! Sure, a lively blog will help your search engine rankings but it will also indicate that you’re an active business on top of it’s game. Frequent updates will encourage users to come back for more, it can help position you as an expert in your field, and it will create the confidence that leads to web enquiries.

We mentioned trust earlier. It’s important to keep on top of updates to maintain credibility. You don’t want your site to look like you’ve gone for lunch and not come back.

If a feature has stopped working, if the footer still says 2015, if the blog section has gathered dust and the social media feed is more #london2012 than #pyeonchang2018, a bit of tender loving care is needed to avoid putting people off.

A well maintained website is also necessary for security. If you need a hand keeping on top of things, just ask us about our concierge service.

> We Can Help

Web traffic is great but website enquiries are better. Use the advice above to convert your browsers into business opportunities.

There’s a lot to think about, but we’re here to help. Call or pop into your local studio for advice on how to make your website work harder.

Nettl Cadets, Class of 2017 Take Their Seats

Nettl Academy swings open the doors for First Nettl Cadets

A warm welcome to our first Nettl Cadets who completed day one at the new Nettl Academy. The training programme, based at our Birmingham Business Store, is an initiative designed to help parachute the Cadets into a design career.

Every year, thousands of would-be designers leave university facing an uphill struggle to secure a job in the creative industry.

With over 10,000 graduates fighting for just 800 jobs, the competition is fierce and talented design hopefuls can find it tough to gain valuable experience.

The Nettl Academy

The Nettl Academy is a way for design graduates to gain some experience, get on-the-job coaching and real-world training. This approach benefits both the graduate and the employer. New starters with relevant experience under their belt can hit the ground running and be productive from day one.

Kate is one of the first Cadets. She studied Graphic Design and Multimedia at the University of Worcester. She said “I started at the Nettl Academy because it was a great opportunity to further my skills as a designer and, hopefully, help me start my career.”

classroom training in great room training room birmingham nettl academy

The Right Fit

One of the challenges our Nettl partners face is that they don’t know what someone’s really like until they hire them. They could put them through training just to discover they’re not the right fit. We hope that the experience a Cadet gets from Nettl Academy will not only make them more employable, but create sustainable, long term positions within existing teams.

We’ve already had interest from other Nettl studios in our network of 100 locations. We’re always looking for talent and our partners are expanding and recruiting.

Built for Success

The first sessions have already been a great success with lots of energy and ideas. The Cadets have shown great potential and we plan to launch a second Academy in Manchester later this year.

If you’re a design student, or you know one, we are looking for applicants for next term.

Click to find our more about the Nettl Academy or enrol.

team photo nettl cadets nettl academy