If you’re not online, customers won’t know you exist

by Melissa Nangle
28 Sep 2016
1 minutes to read

Online consumer spending is now a huge contributor to the digital economy.  We know from our research as part of the Digital Health Index that “Irish consumers spend on average €700,000 online each hour”

In other words, your target audience is more than likely online, searching and buying products and services via their laptops, tablets and smartphones.

Are you there? And if not, why not?

Your website is your calling card to the world and allows consumers to understand more about you, your offering and how they can purchase from you.  It’s not enough to have social media business pages, for example on Facebook or Twitter, as these will not provide enough content space for you to fully describe your business.  Google will ensure that companies with websites rank higher in search than those with only a social media presence.

Crucially, our research tells us that 3 in 4 consumers say that “they are more than likely to purchase from a company that has an online presence”.

It’s essential to go where your customers are, and they are all online.

It’s not just about selling online:  Why SMEs in the Netherlands have embraced websites

An interesting piece of research was carried out recently in the Netherlands, which involved an online survey of 1,280 tradespeople and independent professionals.

The results showed that 95% of them have websites.  That compares with just 65% in the UK, and 72% in Ireland.  They said their websites were valuable for bringing in new orders however, only 30% said that online selling is one of the main purposes of their site.  In fact, the majority of them have a website so that clients can find them (91%), and they can communicate their expertise, reinforce their credibility and increase their reach (all around 85%).

This research also stated that the average value of the additional earnings generated by a website is € 22,500.

The same rationale applies in the Irish situation.  The key advantages cited by your fellow SMEs in the Netherlands resonate here too:

o Websites enable you to generate and process sales. In our next blog we’ll discuss this in greater detail, looking at the various software packages available and the best way to set up your online store.

o Customers can find you online. If you are not there, you are missing opportunities to engage and attract new customers.  Simple as that.

o Website allows you to communicate your expertise, enhance your brand credibility and extend your reach. Consumers can go to your website and read more about your background, or how the business started.  They can understand more about your expertise, and perhaps read customer testimonials or case studies.

Your website is the hub for your business, and all activity on other channels, like social media and emails, should drive consumers back to this hub.

In our next blog, we’ll talk through how to set up your online store and how to design it to encourage consumers to purchase.  Stay tuned!

 The dot ie Digital Health Index was published in June 2016. You can view and download the complete June 2016 report here.

*Source: Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, August 2015

If you’re an SME interested in learning about digital disruption, using digital tech to transform your customer experience and how digital can bring your business global, join us for Internet Day www.internetday.ie