TL:DR – A digital presence can generate an annual €24,000 in additional revenue for an SME. Covering the Irish online SME landscape, David Curtin focused on the ”Digital Health Index’. The IEDR have registered over 250,000 Irish domains, so they know a thing or two about the digital landscape.
The Digital Health Index is an annual survey that delves into digital in Ireland. According to research, Ireland’s eCommerce market is valued at €9 billion. This number is expected to increase to €14 billion by 2021. Logic would then follow that any organisation who can sell online, should be online. Yet, not all companies are and of those who are, only 30% can accept payments online.
According to the IEDR research, retailers are neglecting this opportunity for many reasons:
- 20% don’t have time to build an online presence
- 78% think Word of Mouth is sufficient.
- 13% cite the lack of reliable broadband.
While these may be valid reasons, it is worth considering the consumers perspective:
- 68% of consumers believe a business is ‘outdated’ if it doesn’t have a website.
- 71% are most likely to buy from a business if it has an online presence.
Can social media plug this gap?
In short – no. We have always advised clients to develop content on platforms they control e.g. their ownwebsite. Social media can be leveraged as part of a digital strategy but beware of disappearing platforms. MySpace and Bebo prove that once lauded networks can disappear overnight. The slow death of Google+ has disadvantaged many organisations.
Changes to algorithms have also negatively affected organisations. Facebook’s organic reach for Business Pages has declined from almost 100% at its peak to just 1%. For organisations who have become reliant on these platforms, change can be devastating. Social Media should form part of your digital mix which centres on your website.
What about B2B eCommerce?
Online shopping is not just the preserve of consumer goods. B2B eCommerce will reach $1.4 trillion by 2020. If Irish retailers could corner 3% of this market, it’s worth an estimated $42 billion. There are currently 3.59 million mobile devices in Ireland with browsing capabilities. With that in mind, perhaps it’s time to review your digital strategy?
eCommerce is your shop window to the world, without restriction. Yet there are some considerations before launching into online retailing.
- Handling returns: In some instances (such as fashion), returns can reach 60%, creating chaos for retailers.
- Product Loss: Human error can lead to missing or delayed packaging. It is vital to have an automated system for managing products.
- Credit Card Issues: Fraud is an ongoing concern in both finance and retailing. Stripe, an online payment platform, have launched a new solution to combat this global issue. The product identifies and blocks fraudulent activity using machine learning. Since its launch, Radar has prevented over €4 billion in fraud.
Regardless of your industry, entering into eCommerce in particular, requires planning. Whether you are looking to develop your digital presence or improve your eCommerce activities, we can help. We offer advice on end-to-end integrations and eCommerce platform solutions.