Joan Mulvihill’s response to Irish Independent article “Irish consumers to spend €20bn online by 2020 but strategy needed” please click here to read.
This is an interesting article. The stats are ones that have been touted for quite some time so there is nothing new there. What is interesting about this article is not what it says but rather what it does not say. There has been talk for ages now of a National Digital Strategy, which according to this article is “underway” and will be implemented in the “coming years”. And yet, it is not even this rather slow pace that is of interest to me. What interests me is the dearth of even headline ideas/concepts or indeed the nature of the ‘brave decisions’ that need to be made. My sense is that some of the strategy makers believe that supporting Irish retailers to have ecommerce websites is the answer to the problem. If only more Irish retailers would sell their products online then people wouldn’t shop from overseas anymore. I’m unconvinced.
The IIA has long supported Irish businesses developing their online sales proposition to enhance their relationship with their customers; through the provision of better value, better range and more choice. But that is not to say that every retailer should have their own site. Some need to take a more creative approach to channel management.
An understanding of consumer behaviour is required. Shoppers are not buying from Amazon or Net-A-Porter or ASOS because of the dearth of books, toys or clothes to buy from Irish retailers online. They are buying from Amazon, Net-a-Porter and ASOS because of their breadth of range, their pricing and ultimately free or comparatively low cost to ship. It costs less to have something delivered from Amazon than it does to park in town when I’m shopping. It definitely costs less to have something delivered from Amazon than it does to park in town, buy something and post it to New York to my godchild for her birthday. And so if I look online to Irish independent retailers, it is clear that they are hampered and disadvantaged by expensive shipping costs relative to the price of the item and short delivery times are a serious premium.
It is incredibly difficult for Irish retailers to compete. The National Digital Strategy element that deals with ecommerce has to encapsulate the infrastructure that supports ecommerce. And that infrastructure includes a lot more than quality broadband.
The size of the Irish market is small. Irish retailers’ capacity to reach scale and enjoy any economies of that scale requires vision for developing an international presence. We solicit the best tech companies in the world to set up in Ireland, many of whom provide online sales services. Is that the kernel of a solution? I want to support Irish independent retailers by ensuring they have the tools that they need to market their products/services but unless we sort out the infrastructure and the ambition for international retail then only a small number can achieve the scale needed to succeed. Perhaps our best bet for getting the Irish consumer to buy online from businesses in Ireland is to attract the ecommerce giants to HQ in Ireland. We’ve secured the tech companies that support them so why not secure them directly.
The strategy for achieving this would be predicated on having the best online sales specialists, fulfillment/operations planners, designers, digital advertisers and customer service operators based in Ireland with localised fulfillment centres overseas. We could incentive these businesses to operate through Ireland with a special online sales tax incentive and develop Ireland as an ecommerce hub for the sale of goods AND services online. Combined with the digital content strategy of the IDSC, ecommerce for digital content (books, music, film) in addition to the sale of physical goods might all be funnelled through Ireland as the uniquely placed global ecommerce hub.
This is what interests me. This article might not be revealing anything new or insightful but it stimulates thought. Creativity exists within the cracks.
Your website is now live! What’s next?
Search engine marketing, social media, newsletters and email marketing activities?
For what return? Does it work? Why? How? When? What worked? Etc..
Thanks to web analytics software such as Google Analytics, website owners are now empowered with big data presented in a user friendly interface.
Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool. Google Analytics is free, user friendly, easy to install on a website or a blog, easy to integrate with the range of Google services such as AdWords, AdSense, Doubleclick, GWT, etc… This makes Google Analytics very popular et probably the most popular web analytics software on the market.
At TargetOnlineMarketing.com, we decided to review Google Analytics’ usage worldwide in 2012. Our technology partner W3techs.com explains how: “we investigate technologies of websites, not of individual web pages. If we find a technology on any of the pages, it is considered to be used by the website.“ W3techs.com’s CEO Matthias Gelbmann adds, “We include only the top 1 million websites in the statistics in order to limit the impact of domain spammers. We use website popularity rankings provided by Alexa using a 3 months average ranking. Alexa rankings are sometimes considered inaccurate for measuring website traffic, but we find that they serve our purpose of providing a representative sample of established sites very well.”
According to Netcraft, there are around 700 million websites in June 2012, of which 190 million are active. On average, Google Analytics is installed on 55.8 per cent of websites – Google Analytics is installed on 100 million + websites -, giving Google Analytics a whopper 81.5 per cent market share of the worldwide web analytics software industry. The second place goes to LiveInternet with 5.4 per cent and ranking third is CNZZ with 4.1 per cent market share.
Some numbers about the use of Google Analytics worldwide:
- In Europe, we love Google Analytics, just under 62 per cent of all websites have it installed
- Only South America beats Europe to the top spot with 66.9 per cent
- In Iraq Google Analytics is used by 3.4 per cent of websites, making it the lowest ranking
- Macedonia is the Google Analytics top ranking country in the world with 83.3%
- Asia is the only region of the world with a Google Analytics usage below 50 per cent with 43.5 per cent. CNZZ would have a much higher usage
- under a third of all .mobi websites use Google Analytics as a web analytics tool – 29.4 per cent to be precise
- just under two third of newly created .xxx TLD websites use Google Analytics with 62.2 per cent
- 84 per cent of .ie sites use a traffic analysis tool vs. 68 per cent worldwide
- Google Analytics is installed on 78 per cent of .ie websites
- Full Circle Studies ranks second on .ie websites
- 5 per cent of. ie sites use Adtech vs. 0.3 per cent worldwide
- Adtech ranks third behind AdSense and DoubleClick
See TargetOnlineMarketing.com infographic ‘Who is using Google Analytics in 2012′
The IIA in partnership with Irish Times Training are delighted to launch a brand new Diploma course in e-Commerce Management.
This Course covers everything you need to know to run a successful ecommerce business. Click here for more information.
Module 1: Planning your e-Commerce Customer Proposition
Lecturer: Ronan O’Brien of Zatori – The Costume Shop
Module 2: Business Planning
Lecturer: Fionan Dunne of CFO Services
Module 3: Effective Website Design
Lecturer: Gareth Dunlop of Fathom
Module 4: Driving Customer Traffic – PPC, SEO, Affiliate Marketing and E-Mail Marketing, Deals Management
Lecturer: Ronan O’Brien of Zatori
Module 5: Transaction Management
Lecturer: Bob Curran of Buy4Now
Module 6: eCommerce Customer Services: CRM – Relationships and Returns
Lecturer: Bob Curran of Buy4Now
Module 7: eCommerce Customer Services: Deliveries and Deadlines
Lecturer: Rory O’Connor of Scurri.com
Module 8: International e-Commerce: Translations & Transactions
Lecturer: Mark Rodgers of Cipherion Translations
Module 9: Metrics / Analytics
Lecturer : David Murphy of Amplify
Module 10: Content – Images and Copy
Lecturer: Fiona Ashe of FlasheForward Communications
Module 11: Mobile Commerce
Lecturer: Sian Gray, Mobile Marketing specialist (Nokia)
FREE Module : Breakfast Briefing Managing Customer Information: Your Legal Obligations as an eCommerce Manager from Gary Davies, Assistant Data Protection Commissioner
If you’ve got customer information on file you will need to know in what form and for how long you can store it. You will also need to know for what you may use it. You will need to be fully aware of your obligations as a retailer vis a vis Trading Standards etc.. This module is painful but necessary!
This is a guest blog post contributed by Chris Byrne of Newsletter.ie.
So youʼve used email marketing tools to send email, are comfortable with designing effective newsletters and you track email open rates for your campaigns. So whatʼs next? This article on welcome series will show how you can produce more effective and meaningful results than just knowing who opened your email or clicked on a link.
Whilst a single welcome or activation email is useful, a welcome series is a more effective strategy to continually engage, connect and up-sell with your subscriber over time. Let’s admit it, we’ve often purchased something online, then months later cannot recall where we bought it, right? This lack of recall could, and very often does, drive your hard-won customer to the competition. A Welcome series can help avoid that. Let’s look at an example of how this might work:
Amy buys a pair of running shoes online on Monday. Great, she gets an activation email with the usual shipping and returns info. All good so far. Now let’s look at how a Welcome series differs to sending repetitive promotional emails that could drive Amy away from your product.
On Wednesday Amy getʼs the running-shoes and goes for her first 10k in them; all is good. The next day she gets an email asking “How was your run?” and reminds her of the basic steps to share her running experience online. 3 weeks later Amy gets an email survey asking for feedback “How are the running shoes working for you?” and “Here’s some great stories from other runners just like you” . A special offer for a sports bra is included; f this were Keith, heʼd have an offer on running socks. 6 months later Amy getʼs an email with an offer on the latest running shoe and because sheʼs purchased before, a coupon code is included that she can redeem online or bring in-store. So how do we do that, without sending the same email to every subscriber or worse, in the wrong order? With Autoresponders, you can set these messages up ahead of time and create the rules that will only send the relevant email at the right time and importantly, in the right sequence. And knowing gender with integrated apps like Rapleaf saves some embarrassment too; Keith would not be too impressed with a Sportsbra email !
These welcome series emails can be completely automated if your email platform supports this and can be easily integrated with your transaction systems. Communications which are relevant to your subscribersʼ preference and behaviours are more likely to result in repeat purchases from you -not your competition.
I always try to encourage event attendees to write reviews of our events for the IIA Blog. Niall Mc Henry of IIA Member Company SaveAFewBob.ie lept at the chance and wrote the following review of a recent event. If you would like to write an honest review, check out our guest blogger guidelines and have at ye!
In the meantime a big thanks to Niall!
The event Niall is reviewing was titled “Get Straight to your customers with Email Marketing” and included presentations from denise cox of newsweaver, Irene Gahan of IIA Member Company Rehab Bingo and Gary Davis, Deputy Data Protection Commissioner. The slides from the presentations are available in the Resources section of IIA.ie If you attended the event and have anything further to add please leave a comment or trackback below – thanks! If you would like to hear about future events please either sign up for our free newsletter and events alerts or subscribe to our Events Feed.
Over to Niall:
As a novice e-mail marketer about to embark on an e-mail marketing campaign, I recently attended the seminar on email marketing organised by the IIA. There were some excellent learning points to take from the session which I hope to build into our own company’s newsletters. For those who were unable to attend, here are some of my thoughts which you may find helpful.
Of all the online marketing tools available to businesses, email marketing is the only mechanism which affords marketers full control whereby we can push information to our customers. With all other online marketing tools, the user/customer is in the driving seat, dictating what information they are looking for and where and when they will search for it.
Email marketing allows us to get in front of our customers with our message at the time of our own choosing. This is a golden opportunity to communicate with people who are genuinely interested in our product/service. We should be grateful for this and respect the fact that we have permission to contact them. (Yes, you do need their permission!) It is imperative that we consider the parameters within which we are operating when planning our Email Marketing Strategy.
Denise spoke of the 7 Critical Steps to Email Marketing Success. Below I highlight the key points which we hope to integrate into our own newsletters.
- Set clear objectives and goals
- Build brand loyalty
- Encourage readers to visit our site
- Reward members with prizes/giveaways
- Offer alternative promotional channel to advertisers
- Invite readers to sign up to follow us on Twitter/Facebook
- Look your best
- Design should be consistent with existing branding
- Clean design: a few short paragraphs with prominent headlines
- Not too wordy, easy to scan
- Light and engaging in tone
- Visuals can be effective
- Include great content
- Content is king (and it builds your reputation)
- Relevant and timely
- Quality as opposed to quantity
- WIFM: What do your customers want to read? What’s in it for them?
- Short snappy paragraphs – readers are time poor
- Have strong calls to action
- Email Us
- Download this
- Click here (include hyperlinks to specific landing pages)
- Follow us on Twitter
- Avail of this exclusive offer
- Get into the Inbox
- Best to use a professional email service provider
- Check compatibility with different browsers
- Test prior to sending
- Keep your database clean and up to date
- Stand out in the Inbox
- A good heading can ensure higher open rate
- How can you stand out from the crowd(ed) Inbox?
- Can you create instant recognition?
- A personalised email creates trust. Avoid sent from info@, no reply@
- Measure and test for best results
- E-mail marketing is an iterative process
- Learn about your audience. What are their preferences?
- Segment your database if appropriate
- Study metrics, what was opened, which calls to action were answered?
- What can be improved the next time?
Hope this helps. Happy Email Marketing!
This month’s Digital Digest went out this week. It’s just under a year now since we’ve been using the Newsweaver system and we are really happy with it. It was especially useful while we were organising Congress as we had different groups involved in different ways: speakers, shortlistees, demonstrators and, of course, delegates. It really helped smooth some of the processes of communicating important information about Congress.
So it is with dismay that I read in my Campaign Monitor ezine (and about 2 seconds later in an email from IIA Member Pixel Design – thank you very much!) that Microsoft are planning to go ahead with their plan to use “the crippled Word rendering engine to display HTML emails in Outlook 2010″ as Campaign Monitor and The Email Standards Project put it.
I think Microsoft are doing lots of great things and I love and use some of their products regularly and happily. But I also love my ezines. I’ve been writing ezines for about eight years now and trying to keep up to speed on what works and what doesn’t in email. I know that many of the beautiful email newsletters that we see today came about from painstaking developing and care for cross platform/ browser/ email client compatibility. Email marketing can be really effective but it has to be able to relate visually to everything else a company produces online. It must reinforce that relationship so that even if a subscriber signed up on your site a week, a month or more previously, they will instantly recognise your brand and style in their inbox no matter what email client they use. You can read another interesting perspective on this issue on Long Zheng’s Blog who points out that while Outlook 2010 may have problems there are other email clients that are equally questionable when it comes to HTML rendering. If you do any sort of communication with your clients via email you should care about this issue and if you use Twitter you should add your voice to the campaign at fixoutlook.org
And if you aren’t emailing your clients em… right. I don’t know what to say to you. Try this for starters maybe?