Ireland’s Internet Day 2016
Ireland’s Internet Day 2016, in association with the IE Domain Registry (IEDR), gathered some of Irelands leading online companies who are using technology to transform the customer experience.
With responsibility for growing a number of SME digital assets, we were invited to attend to gain insight from a diverse panel and agenda. We heard from businesses that have broken the mould to meet the changing needs of e-consumers. SME's that have kicked the door wide open into new export markets will tell us how they did it.
A diverse panel outlined practical guidelines for Irish SME’s to build successful online experiences for their customers.
Philip Martin of Appliancesdelivered.ie had simple but solid advice for Irish online retailers. He found value in focusing on his customers and building a platform that is planned around their needs.
- Keep it simple (product, service, goals)
- Frictionless (device, minimal clicks, navigation)
- Intuitive (user experience, layout)
- Functional (speed)
In simple terms, build something your customers want rather than what you want. Users are impatient and will reward online retailers who have a process that enables them to get in and out in a seamless manner.
Mikey Cannon from Bizimply, gave insight into how their product evolved over time, using data and insights to improve and change features and functionality to service the needs of their growing customers. He also stressed that this process is always on, even today they are gathering insights with a view to further shape the online platform.
Removing any pain points for your customers and making it easy for them to engage with your service was the stand out point from this discussion.
Creating personalised experiences for consumers online has been transformative in recent years, one third of Amazon’s sales comes from suggested products that are refined to match each users' history and behaviour.
Closer to home we can see how heavily Ryanair have invested in this approach with myRyanair, which can assist with tailored holiday tips, link them with other passengers , remember what plane seats they prefer, or offer restaurant suggestions for the destination.
Irelands' SME base, whilst not having the resources of Amazon or Ryanair, can take the lead in this approach. It doesn't take massive investment to understand your customers and how they behave on your website.
Simple affordances along their experience can create a long lasting impression. Customising by device, time of day, date, location, number of previous visits are generally simple to implement, once clear planning has been carried out.
Sïmon Saneback delivered a superb talk on how trends globally are - data driven, customer focused and mobile. Price wars between businesses will continue and Sïmon sampled some of the leading companies who have invested in giving customers a great experience online to retain and grow business.
- Know your product / service
- Understand your customer journey
- Use context to customise approach
Setting Up Your Stall
For Irish SME’s, the opportunities online are great and getting a platform to reach your customers has never been easier. What was refreshing to hear from industry leaders was that planning successful products online didn’t require massive investment.
The Irish share of the e-commerce and online marketplace is worth over 6.5 billion and growing. It represents a huge and untapped opportunity for Irish SME’s.
- One quarter of consumers shop online at least weekly (26%)
- 90% of consumers check a website or search engine for company and product information
Getting online has never been more critical for Irish SME’s and the tools and assistance are there to support your transition. A wider Government scheme has been introduced under the National Digital Strategy that provides vouchers known as online trading vouchers, up to the value of €2,500 to companies to develop or upgrade their websites.
It is clear that for SME’s to compete and grow online, the experience your customers have with your service or product online needs to be simple, easy and add value.
Even if your starting from scratch, with a little planning and investment, the benefits can be great!