Posts Tagged eCommerce

Was 2010 the year for eCommerce? Will Irish retailers begin to smell the coffee?

Supermarket check out, London January 2005 Aut...
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Over the Christmas you probably noticed a lot of retailers out on various news reports complaining about poor sales (as they like to at Christmas) and in most cases with great reason too. I personally still find it hard to believe how many of the retail outlets in Ireland are still in business. The double blow of the recession and the god awful snow that engulfed Ireland and the UK for nearly 3 weeks certainly didn’t do anything to help their falling sales. But, for many reasons, I just can’t bring myself to feeling 100% sorry for these retailers.

It’s not that I am a cynical and bitterly twisted man that makes me feel this way. And I am certainly not a hardcore socialist who would sticks two fingers up at all retailers and say “ha, you should have treated your staff better!”. No, I’m just someone who has worked in the Internet for over 10 years now and have seen so many Irish retailers ignore the great benefits a properly prepared online web strategy.

“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail” is the phrase mentioned by one Irish great that sticks out in my mind when I think of how Irish retailers have ignored such a valuable resource to their business.

In the UK, it’s been reported that 44% of their population upped their online spend this Christmas compared to 2009. The total amount spent online in the UK was £2.8bn !! Another interesting fact is that 86% of UK consumers logged on to the Internet on Christmas and St. Stephens day a 10% increase on the previous year. 62% of those consumers shopped for sale items over those two days!

John Lewis say that their online sales in the 5 weeks to January the first accounted for £500m. And I guess it’s no surprise that the leading retailers online (after Amazon & eBay) were Argos, Next and M&S.

When you see figures like this, it amazes me to think that Irish retail businesses still don’t take their online business serious enough.

Let’s take a list of Irish retailers and see how they compare with their UK counterparts…

Although it appears to be sitting on an eCommerce system, namingly Magento – there is no option to buy online. Maybe they need the footfall to generate some cross sells – but there are other ways of getting people into the store – and not many people were venturing out in the snow! They don’t seem to have a UK site (if they are even there!)
Much the same as Harvey Norman – display lots of products, but don’t allow you to buy (from what I can see). You can buy online from their websites in the UK.

River Island have a nice website and you can purchase online – albeit in sterling and not 100% sure if you can get it delivered to Ireland (or pick up in store!)

I don’t know about you, but if I could have bought items online through the Boots website I would have! Anyone who has ever tried to buy perfume through somewhere like Amazon knows that they simply won’t deliver to you. A golden opportunity for someone like Boots to make a few quid online. And can you imagine those great 3 for 2 offers… oh I wish… of course, you can do this online if you live in the UK.

A great Irish brand with, it must be said, a visually appealing website – but no you can’t buy online. A place I would have definitely bought online over the Christmas period as I desperately searched for 2 turkeys for Christmas Dinners!!

I could easily go on and on but I won’t…

There are of course some exceptions to what appears to be the rule. You will find some retailers with decent enough websites, but by on large they just don’t exist.

As usual, it tends to be the smaller, lesser known retailers that appear to take their online presence more serious in Ireland – but even those are far and few between. When we have a country next door to us spending nearly £3bn online at Christmas it seems ridiculous that there aren’t more retailers taking a serious look at trying to grab a piece of this with a proper online marketing strategy.

The Celtic Tiger as we know was really good for Ireland, but the current lack of interest in making a serious online effort to generate business is an indication of how well we actually had it. “Ah sure I don’t need to sell to online, sure there’s plenty of business already….”

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IEDR to give 10 SME’s a €10k Website Grant

.ie: Ireland's official Internet address
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The Irish Domain registry, the IEDR have created a €100,000 fund to help boost SME e-commerce. The idea of the fund will be to identify 10 SME’s who can take advantage of a €10,000 grant to to build an eCommerce website to help grow their business online. In an age where online buying continues to grow significantly, only 21% of Irish companies with websites have the ability to handle transactions online.

I’m personally delighted to see this incentive from the IEDR and it’s something that the government really should take note of. This incentive by the IEDR will help 10 businesses start to trade online and see the true potential that the web can bring their business.

I don’t say it often about the IEDR, but “Well Done” on this one – great idea!

As of now, I’m not sure how one goes about being included in the process for being selected, but when I find out I’ll post it here.

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Shameless plug of client websites

I generally don’t like doing this as I try to keep my work life separate from my blog. But there comes a time when everyone could do with a little helping hand. Especially when you are trying something new.

So I’ve selected 3 projects that we’ve been working on recently that have just launched. Our involvement in each project ranges from design and development to consultancy and online marketing.

EZ Spare Parts
This project has been going on for a quite a while now and I am happy to say the site has finally been launched. It’s a typical eCommerce website, with all the usual functionalities you’d expect from an online shopping cart system. The site itself focuses on selling kitchen appliance and consumable parts.

I personally think this is going to be a huge success, why? Well what makes this stand out from the rest is that they plan to offer hundreds of self repair tips for many different kitchen appliances. The guys behind it are massively driven and feel that we can actually fix most of the issues that arise with kitchen appliances quite easily. Armed with the knowledge they provide in their repair tips and videos, coupled with the right parts that you can buy from their website, we should avoid the need to ring our local washing machine repair guy (or going out to buy a new one). Ultimately, saving you a small fortune!

So the next time you have an issue with your washing machine or fridge freezer, why not check this site out first!

The Get Ireland Working Team
In this climate, everyone needs a helping hand. Especially small businesses who are either low on cash-flow or a company just starting out for the very first time. The Get Ireland Working Team are hoping that by harnessing the traditional Irish spirit of volunteerism that they can help create 50,000 jobs. They plan to create jobs in many different ways, from providing small loans to offering free advice from successful business people. The great thing is, that you can be part of this team too. All you need to do is go off and register your support with them on their website.

It’s very early days, but hopefully the movement will catch on, so why not get involved and starting helping to create jobs!

Cash For Your Car
This is a very simple site and aesthetically nothing to write home about. However, the idea itself seems clever. Jumping on the back of the “Cash for your Gold” craze, this Meath based Car Dealer plans to give you money for your car. You simply enter your car registration number, submit a few small details and they will be in touch with you, hopefully with a big wad of cash!

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