In today’s digital age, it is critical for businesses to have a strong online presence to keep up with consumer expectations. A new joint Web Health Report by .IE and Retail Excellence Ireland (REI) has revealed that Irish SMEs need more government funding and support to enhance their online presence to ensure future success and growth.
Here are the key findings of the report:
- 60% of retail businesses use web analytic tools, the most popular of which is Google Analytics.
- Adoption of User Experience (UX) features by retail businesses is low with just 14% of retail businesses offering a live chat function, while only 18% show customer reviews on their website.
- With almost half of retailers selling online, 46% have e-commerce cart functionality.
- Just 20% are utilising online ad tracking, leaving retailers missing potential opportunities to gain greater insight into their advertising performance.
- 91% of retailers have SSL certificates installed, but only 22% have implemented CAPTCHA/bot protection on their websites.
The report analysed the web health and performance of REI member websites across various SME sectors, including fashion and footwear, books and stationery, toys, DIY and garden, shops, and health and beauty. The results showed that only 14% of retail businesses offer a live chat function, while just 18% show customer reviews on their websites. In addition, 46% of retailers have e-commerce cart functionality. However, only 20% utilise online ad tracking, and just 22% have implemented CAPTCHA on their website.
The report highlights the need for Irish retailers to prioritise and enhance their online presence to ensure future success and growth. The Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Neale Richmond, emphasised the importance of digitalisation for Irish retailers and thanked the report’s authors for providing actionable insights for the retail sector to improve their online offering.
Jean McCabe, Interim CEO of Retail Excellence Ireland, added that the report highlights the need for more government efforts and structures to improve retailers’ online visibility and competitiveness, particularly for micro SMEs, which were excluded from availing of the Online Retail Scheme.
To address the challenges identified in the report, Irish retailers need to focus on improving their online customer experience. One area for improvement is customer reviews. Only 18% of retail businesses show customer reviews on their websites, which is a missed opportunity to leverage social proof to increase customer trust and confidence in their brands. By showcasing positive customer reviews, retailers can increase their credibility and encourage more sales.
Finally, the report highlights the need for Irish retailers to prioritise online ad tracking and implementing CAPTCHA protections on their websites to enhance their online security. Online ad tracking allows retailers to measure the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns and make data-driven decisions to optimise their marketing efforts. CAPTCHA, on the other hand, helps to prevent automated bots from accessing websites and reduces the risk of fraudulent activities.
Overall, the Web Health Report by .IE and REI highlights the need for Irish SMEs to enhance their online presence to keep up with consumer expectations. By implementing key recommendations from the report, retailers can improve their online customer experience, increase their online visibility and competitiveness, and ensure future success and growth. The government can also play a role in supporting these efforts by providing more funding and structures to micro SMEs.