Google – An introduction to the hardware industry’s digital landscape

Eight in every 10 individuals in Ireland are now online, according to Google Trends. With that, it’s even more important today to ensure your business and brand can be found online, but that you can also provide consumers with the type of experience that they have come to expect, such as easy online purchasing or being able to find the products they need, when they need them, on mobile devices.

DIY and home improvement in Ireland is a growing industry online. Using Google Trends (1), we can see there has been a 38% increase in searches for the term ‘DIY’ since 2012 and a 270% increase in searches for the term ‘home improvement’. Of the people searching online in Ireland, 31% have also purchased online (2). This provides a great opportunity. Not only is there an increase in searches but people are now more likely to engage in e-commerce. An added bonus is that the vast majority of these people are within the 25-to-54-year age bracket – your target customers (2).

This opportunity isn’t being leveraged by many hardware product and service providers at the moment. According to the latest report from the IEDR (the registry that maintains the database of .ie registered domains), one in every six Irish SMEs do not have any online presence (3). While this is a concern, of those that do have an online presence, nine out of 10 are not e-commerce enabled (4).This is the same as locking the front door when a customer walks up to your premises, thereby sending them back or to a competitor’s store.

Mobile is another key growth area in the DIY and home improvement industry. Over 70% of the Irish population use a smartphone, which is up from just 39% four years ago (5). Case studies have shown that a one-second mobile page load improvement can result in up to a 27% increase in conversions (6). Your mobile site is likely to be the first port of call for busy trade professionals moving from job to job or DIY-ers needing a particular tool or material quickly and nearby. Getting this right has never been easier with responsive web design becoming standard practice, allowing your web designer to design one site and have it work seamlessly across devices.

From multiple devices to multiple channels, retailers need to think about their position in the ecosystem. There are two main classifications of online retailers: Pure Play, those with no physical stores but conduct their business online; and multichannel, those who conduct business both online and in a bricks-and-mortar store. For the most part, Pure Play retailers will be well set up for online commerce, as that’s their only source of revenue. Multichannel retailers, on the other hand, have a tendency to treat the online and in-store parts of their business separately, thereby focusing on one over the other. Websites don’t need to work in isolation. Many multichannel retailers understand that while average orders may be more valuable in store, a good online presence can play a big role in driving store footfall and they are starting to offer services such as ‘Click & Collect’, where a customer can make a purchase online and collect in-store that day. This provides an opportunity to upsell in-store.

Having an online presence is becoming more and more imperative every year. The most important thing that you can do for your business in 2016 is to ensure that people who are looking for you online can not only find your website, but can easily find and purchase the product or service they’re looking for while they are online.

References

1. www.google.ie/trends/
2. Data from IMF, Consumerbarometer, CIA, Euromonitor, ComScore and Statcounter are based on assumptions
3. IEDR Digital Health Index 2016 [www.iedr.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/dot-ie-Digital-HealthIndex-Q2-2016.pdf]
4. IEDR Digital Health Index 2015 [www.iedr.ie/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/IEDR-IE-Digital-HealthIndex.pdf]
5. https://www.siliconrepublic.com/comms/tech-nation-irish-population-smartphone
6. Google customer case study September 2015 [case study referenced at www.soasta.com/blog/ mobile-web-performance-monitoring-conversion-rate/]

For any members that have questions or comments for Google, they have kindly set up a dedicated email address for Hardware Association Ireland, it is hai-questions@google.com


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