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Why Irish SMEs Need To Embrace Ecommerce

By Michael, Tuesday, 15th September 2015 | 0 comments
Filed under: UX/Design, Web Development, Responsive Design, Ecommerce.

We all live in a very connected world these days. Sitting on the bus, at the dinner table or even at the gym, we are all connected and have immediate ability to buy anything, from anywhere at any time. Ecommerce is now such an important aspect of Irish business that it should not be ignored, but rather embraced.

Irish behavioural traits have changed significantly also, with 36% of Irish adults spending in the region of 20 hours per week online. The market is there and growing in Ireland.

Irish Ecommerce Economy

The digital economy in Ireland is going from strength to strength in recent years. Within the past year, 9 out of 10 adults have made some sort of online purchase. This is somewhat unsurprising when you consider the growth in broadband throughout the country, starting from initial dial-up, to broadband and now to fibre. Broadband black spots are reducing while speeds are increasing. Nearly 95% of Irish homes now access to broadband of some description.

However, with all this progress there remains a lag for some businesses adapting to the ecommerce market place. Some 91% of Irish business cannot process online payments or sales whatsoever. In this growing global marketplace, where the ability to quickly and easily export to any country in the world is room for concern, that there is such a large percentage of businesses unable to sell online.

According to a recent survey by the IEDR, they found that Irish SMEs:

  • 91% are unable to process sales online
  • 62% cannot take sales online
  • 68% cannot process payments online
  • 54% do not have a responsive website

When this is put into context of how valuable the ecommerce industry is to the Irish economy, it is worrying. Currently, Ireland’s digital spend is reported to be in the region of €8.4bn, and by 2020 is expected to grow to a staggering €21.1bn. Irish businesses are literally letting a large portion of this €8.4bn leave our shores, with some €3.5bn being spent on overseas companies.

 If you imagine how we could improve this figure by investing more into the Irish ecommerce economy. This goes hand-in-hand with the survey the IEDR released and how much the Irish business sector needs to improve their ecommerce game.

Why Use Ecommerce

Like it or not, your target market is more than likely online and willing to spend their hard-earned cash be-it 10am or 12pm. If they want to buy online and you’re not in a position to help them, they will go elsewhere. Allowing for this, you can still accept sales even when your bricks and mortar premises is closed.

Apart from the initial set up, the running costs of an ecommerce enabled website can be pretty low. Bearing in mind you may need to pay for ongoing hosting and potentially purchase charges, the overall costs make ecommerce an attractive proposition for most business owners.

An ecommerce website is more than just selling online. A good website will help promote your business as a whole, even if this benefit is intangible. Showing your products, services and skills online may make a previously unaware user, aware that you even exist. Some 81% of shoppers conduct some online research before they make a purchase.

Mobile is driving nearly half of all online purchases. This is likely to grow and grow due in part of search engines giving preference to mobile enabled websites.

Cost To Entry

Entering the ecommerce arena is relatively low in comparison to entering other markets. As with everything online, you open the door almost immediately to a much larger potential audience at both home and abroad.

There are grants available to Irish businesses who wish to up their online game. These grants can help a new website or redesign to help make the most of the growing market, such as the Trading Online Voucher from Local Enterprise Office.

This Trading Online Voucher scheme was to see some 2000 SMEs trade online over a two-year period. This, however, is a small drop in the ocean when you consider than there are 200,000 .ie domains registered. Competition is tough within the existing Irish market, even if you exclude the foreign websites targeting Irish sales.

Any website design company worth their salt will use their skills and expertise to try and get the best website for their client. Ecommerce as a whole can at times be tricky. Knowing what best practices are needed require experience and know-how. Leverage the advice you’re given.

Taking Payments

Taking payments online these days are quick, effortless and very secure. When we are discussing this with clients, we advise them to use Payment Service Providers (PSPs) such as Realex, Stripe and PayPal. These PSPs take the hassle and complexity out of taking payments online. Once someone tries to make a purchase on your website, their details are checked and once approved payment is taken.

One very strong aspect of PSPs is there is no need for any website to store any payment details. This is a big problem lately due to hacking, and in essence there is no realistic need for a website to store such data.

PSPs are very easy to set up and we can install them into a website effortlessly.

Top Ecommerce Tips

  • Get quality advice; don’t take just one person’s word for it.
  • Develop your ecommerce website that suits your needs.
  • Understand this is just one step to selling online.
  • Leverage the expert advice of your website designers and developers.
  • Don’t rush your launch; get it right first time around.
  • Test everything!
  • Go mobile!


Ireland has a huge opportunity to become one of the most ecommerce enabled counties in Europe and give it the opportunity to unlock the huge potential that the European market provides. The free movement of people and goods within the EU make selling into other markets a much more attractive and achievable.

Irish companies need to understand that the ecommerce marketplace is here in Ireland. No longer are the biggest companies selling mainly in Dublin, purchases can be made throughout the country from businesses small and big.

The market is growing, the business is there. Come and talk to us, we’re based in Dublin but our reach is nationwide. Call us on (01) 299 0655