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Why Irish people shop online overseas and how to make them spend with you

by Donal O Nuallain
20 Mar 2017
1 minutes to read

According to some of the latest statistics for online spending in Ireland, the digital economy is now worth about 6% of Ireland’s GDP with 94% of Irish internet users now shopping online.  Average adult online spending per month has been rising by 13% since 2014, from €71 to €80 per month per person.  In parallel, consumer spending grew by just 9% in the same period. It’s predicted that the value of online spending will almost double between now and 2021, rising from an estimated €7.5bn to €14.1bn.

Unfortunately, about 60% of Irish online shopping still goes abroad.

As an Irish retailer, how can you attract this spend?  

It goes without saying that it’s important to offer a positive online user experience, a well designed, easy-to-navigate website and secure payment systems.

For consumers, trust is key, and they will click away if the website lacks authenticity or security.

Whilst competitive pricing is important, there are other factors involved in the purchasing decision process.  According to recent research compiled by Irish digital agency connector.ie, there are 5 key factors that influence consumers’ willingness to buy from a retailer online.  In a survey carried out in 2016, consumers cited the following factors as key to their online purchasing decision:

– 75% cited free delivery

– 50% were looking for an easy returns policy

– 44% wanted a hassle-free checkout process

– 45% were enticed by financial awards or incentives such as 10% off first purchase

– 42% were swayed by reviews from other customers

Let’s take a closer look at these.

In terms of free delivery, this is certainly an option to consider when trying to encourage Irish shoppers to spend with you. Free delivery – and indeed free returns – takes the hassle and risk out of the transaction.

According to Nielsen, 84% of consumers trust peer-to-peer recommendations.   Consider setting up a section to highlight positive comments and reviews from your customers – this will help to build trust with consumers. Trust pilot is a popular tool for this.

Consumers buy online for convenience and speedy service – make sure your checkout process is seamless and does not involve too many steps.  Put yourself in the shoes of your customer and try to buy something from your own website.  You might be surprised at what you find.

Keeping it local

Tell your customers you are an Irish company – people like to support local business if they can.   By using a .ie domain name, you are showing customers that the business is based locally, and therefore they are supporting local business by shopping with you. Also, we recently conducted some research which shows that almost two-thirds of Irish consumers—64 percent—have little to no trust in businesses that use free email addresses like Gmail and Eircom. In contrast, 77 percent said they trust companies that use professional email addresses, like a .ie address registered to a business name (e.g. customerservice@localbusiness.ie). You can read more about our consumer trust research here. 

Show them you care

Have you supported any local initiatives or charities?  Tell your customers about it! When people are locally invested in a particular cause, or familiar with a charity it is more likely to attract their attention.

‘Click and collect’ option

Click and Collect allows your customers to purchase items online and pick them up in the physical store. This makes the process more convenient as they can make a purchase from wherever they want, and then collect the item whenever they want.

Click and collect is a huge benefit for busy people, saving time and hassle. If you have a physical store, this is a viable option for you to offer your customers.

Stock Clearance

Online selling is a speedy way to shift stock, and it saves premium store space.  You can use your e-store to feature a ‘sale’ section, advertising older stock at lower prices.  This way you will reduce any stock surplus, and potentially attract customers looking for an online bargain.

No additional taxation or charges

Goods purchased for personal use over the Internet or from mail order catalogues from a country outside the EU subject to charges.  As an Irish retailer, none of these will apply so make sure to promote this to consumers in your communications online.  More importantly, by buying Irish, and keeping it local, consumers are contributing to the Irish economy.  Everyone wins.

Get some more tips here on how to set up an e-store or improve your online experience.