E-commerce has come a long way since the days of dial-up modems. But it’s astonishing to think that only 32% of small and medium enterprises (SME) in Ireland take sales orders or process transactions through their website, according to the latest reports. This represents a huge opportunity that’s overlooked, particularly during this current pandemic when the majority of the nation is locked at home.
Yet, it has never been easier, or more affordable, to buy a website domain, with prices as low as €4.99. Nonetheless, nearly two thirds of SMEs are losing out to billions every year.
Why you need an online presence
From trade and industry to tech and marketing, whatever industry you’re in, your business will benefit from a website. Better still if you have a .ie domain, since at least half of consumers prefer to buy from a local source.
Once domain registration is complete, you’re able to share your brand vision and have a dialogue with customers online. Websites are often the first point of call for customers – it’s a natural destination for finding out more about a company, and making a purchase. In fact, most Irish consumers (two-thirds) believe that businesses without a website domain are simply ‘outdated’. While 60 per cent of consumers believe that online shopping is important.
So then, why are Irish businesses missing such a great opportunity and what can be done?
A missed opportunity
Last year 1.8 billion people worldwide purchased goods online, a trend that is only growing. What’s more, Irish consumers turn to online more than any other nation, as the biggest international shoppers in the world. However, a recent report suggested that most Irish SMEs use their websites like a ‘static digital business card’, which doesn’t add any value to the customer.
David Curtin, CEO of IE Domain Registry, said: “By remaining digitally under-developed, SMEs will continue to lose their share of Ireland’s €12.3 billion e-commerce market to international online competitors.”
In these digital times we live in, where mobile shopping is vastly become the go-to for consumers, SMEs need to equip themselves better. Here’s a few practical steps that can be taken.
Invest in your company brand
Consider your website an extension of your business and marketing efforts. Buy a domain that consumers will be able to find and also invest in an .ie domain to stand out from competitors. Also secure all the necessary social media handles that correspond with your business name.
Keep content fresh
It’s not enough to just have a website and move on. This is your homepage, your product – your brand. It needs to be kept fresh and up to date with the latest news, promotions and blog content. You need to give consumers a reason to come back, time and again.
The golden rule of marketing – sell your products online! If you’re unable to distribute directly to consumers, then link to retailers that do, such as Amazon or otherwise.
Businesses today are vying for custom, and those that are SEO savvy are winning the war. Invest in SEO analytics to ensure your content is marketed to the right audience. Opt for WordPress Hosting if you can, this will allow you to write blogs and news that drive traffic and produce results.
Once you’re set up, find a way to build a relationship with customers. Send monthly newsletters, offer promotional codes, launch a loyalty scheme – whatever you can do to remain engaged and driving traffic for sales.
These are just some of the steps SMEs can take in order to make the most out of their online presence. In doing so, they might just win over new (and existing) customers.
Make the most of your online presence and invest in a .ie domain today with LetsHost.ie.