The Rise of eCommerce in Ireland
Ireland, particularly Dublin has been home to the regional headquarters to some of the biggest tech giants in Europe, including Google, Facebook, Airbnb, eBay, and LinkedIn. However, when it comes to digitisation and particularly eCommerce, Ireland certainly has not been the trailblazers within the space. According to a report from ecommerceDB, the Irish eCommerce market was valued at USD 4 billion (approx. €3.7 billion) in 2021, placing it 42nd in the world, just ahead of Portugal and the Czech Republic.
In the past two years, opportunities for Ireland's eCommerce landscape have shown significant growth. Covid has helped to accelerate the digitisation process, as businesses needed to keep up with the demand and the rising revenue within the industry. In 2021, a study by Wolfgang Digital found that the top 15% of retail businesses in Ireland capture roughly 84% of consumer spending and more than 80% of the businesses believe that they have been busy or busier than ever before since launching their online store. The report also suggests that top-tier eCommerce merchants in the €20 million plus cohort, have witnessed 150% revenue growth by using smart and opportunistic moves that drove the eCommerce industry to sail higher than expected.
The rise of eCommerce has allowed businesses to find a more transparent and seamless way to conduct their business online with the emergence of online tech. It has pushed businesses to conduct their transactions online, making people embrace online shopping. The retail eCommerce sales in Ireland are now projected to reach US$ 7,819 million (approx. €7.435 million) in 2022 (Statistics, 2022).
Retailers have realised that the Irish market is full of people enthusiastic about online transactions. Cashless payments have been on the rise as card spendings have reached new record levels. According to a new analysis by the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI), the value of contactless payments increased by 48.3% to €13.6 billion in 2018, with contactless payments accounting for 52% of all card payments in 2021, up from 25% in 2017. With the retail stores opening and the ability to transact easily up to a limit of €50, the average payment value has steadily increased over the Covid era.
While there is still work to do with the eCommerce industry in Ireland, the outlook is certainly promising. If businesses take the time to understand their audience and make agile, smart decisions to attract customers at every touchpoint, businesses could reap huge profits.
As the digital landscape is constantly changing, businesses must stay tactile to stay relevant. Here are the top five things your business should consider:
1. From product to a service
Many businesses have already adopted digital marketing channels, but when it comes to service innovation, the market is still an open playing field. The goal is to turn commonplace manual operations, tangible items, and traditional services into mobile or web-based services.
Start thinking about how you can deliver your product as a tangible solution to your customers core needs so that you can serve them better. Make use of your data consistently and consider how your consumers behaviour habits can help you service your products in a better way.
2. Think mobile first
Nearly half of the population in Ireland use their mobile phones for shopping. It is imperative that your website is mobile friendly to ensure the customer journey is not impacted. One option may be to compress images to ensure they load faster, or ensure fonts are legible on smaller screens. This would help make the process more seamless and stress-free.
Our specialist eCommerce consultation team at BDO Eaton Square can advise you on the best practices to adhere to render your website more effectively on mobile devices.
3. Think omnichannel
The lines between pure play and digital have started to blur and this means that an increasing number of businesses would have to adapt to the growing needs of lack of physical touch of the product being sold. For many clients, one visit would be sufficient to establish the trust required to make subsequent purchases without the need to personally inspect and feel each new product. Online and physical store retailers should continue to build their presence online as well as offline to engage the customers at every touchpoint.
4. Consider ‘pretzel-shaped’ customer journey
The old notion of the linear customer journey is gradually getting outdated due to increased proliferation of smart wearables and TVs, as well as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality devices which have disrupted the way customers experience products and services. One of the crucial prerequisites for retailers' success in the coming years will be their capacity to track people across an increasing number of devices and touchpoints, as well as figuring out how to accurately analyse which of those are most effective at driving sales. This will necessitate a higher level of sophistication in how sales are attributed to various marketing touchpoints.
Start building your business around that journey and dig into the attribution data so that you understand your customers in a better way, and in turn serve them when they need you.
5. Rise of predicted data and curated shopping
There will also be an increase in business models that use predictive analytics to provide a fully customized shopping experience, taking product recommendations to the next level. A subscription-based health and beauty service, for example, could utilize predictive analytics to produce a personalized package for a customer that anticipates his or her specific needs. A service like this may be useful and enjoyable. The emergence of the next generation of digital assistants, including Siri, Cortana and Google, will be another component of the tailored shopping experience. Start building your business intelligence today and identify the areas that you might need to work on to improve your customer journey to give them a more holistic experience.
These are just the top five, and there can be infinitely more. But whatever your business problem may be, we, at BDO Eaton Square, are here to help. For smarter advice, you can always reach out to us for support, so that we can help you elevate your business. Our specialist eCommerce Solution Consultants are always keen to help and build the business like yours through our range of digital services, including eCommerce Development, Platform Migration, Paid Advertising Strategy and more.