A recent report published by IE Domain Registry, the company that manages and maintains Ireland’s country domain, .ie. has found that almost 7 in 10 (68%) Irish SMEs risk losing out on Black Friday trade as a result of not being able to take sales orders online.
Irish consumers expect that 62% of their Black Friday weekend spend will be transacted online. However, according to IE Domain Registry’s SME Digital Health Index 2019, which analyses Irish SMEs and consumers’ attitudes to digital technology, only 32% of Irish SMEs’ websites allow them to take sales orders or process transactions.
Broken down by region, only 20% of SMEs in the capital plan on offering any Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals. That number drops to 13% in Connacht and Ulster, 12% in the rest of Leinster, and just 7% in Munster.
Despite Irish SMEs’ lack of e-commerce capabilities, 59% of Irish consumers say that it is important for them to be able to make a purchase online. More than half (53%) believing that online shopping will, at some point, replace traditional shopping.
However, almost a third (31%) of Irish SMEs don’t have a website and a further 60% do not promote themselves online in any way.
Speaking this week, IE Domain Registry CEO, David Curtin said, "Given that almost 70% of Irish SMEs’ websites do not have any e-commerce capabilities, most Irish businesses are immediately on the backfoot compared to their digital rivals in Ireland and abroad. As a result, a significant portion of Ireland’s online spending goes overseas. To combat this, Irish SMEs must adapt their digital offering in line with changing consumer attitudes to buying goods and services online."
He added, "This doesn’t mean that all of your business should be online, rather that your online presence should complement your in-store experience. Providing options such as click-and-collect or the ability to reserve an item in store, are e-commerce methods that are easily adapted for SMEs of all sizes and can encourage in-store shopping."