Connacht SMEs with a website pick up an average of 12 additional jobs a year, new research from the IE Domain Registry (IEDR ), the company that manages Ireland’s country domain name .ie, has revealed.
Nationally, Irish SMEs with a website receive an average of 22 additional jobs a year, with each worth an average of €1,089 or €24,000 per annum in additional revenue. Dublin-based SMEs receive the highest average number of additional jobs (41 ), followed by the rest of Leinster (16 ) and Munster (14 ). Ulster and Connacht receive the fewest (12 ).
The research, conducted by Ignite Research in March, also showed that nearly three-quarters (71 percent ) of Irish shoppers are more likely to purchase goods and services from a business that has a website.
Despite this, only a little over half of consumers (51 percent ) believe that their local shops and businesses are equipped for the digital age (i.e. have a basic website, have e-commerce capability ). Indeed, three-quarters (74 percent ) said they find it frustrating when a company has no website.
Commenting on the findings, David Curtin, Chief Executive of IEDR, said, “For SMEs, having even a basic website is an integral part of doing business in the twenty-first century. The benefits are clear: SMEs with a website stand to receive more work and make more money than their offline counterparts. Being online means businesses can reach out to more customers, understand them better, sell more products and expand into new markets.
“The internet has shifted consumer expectations. Shoppers appreciate the convenience and accessibility of a website, particularly if it offers a list of products and the option to buy online. Most regard the absence of a website as evidence that a business is ‘outdated’ and are frustrated when basic content, like product listings and opening hours, are missing.
“Nowadays, selling online is a straightforward process thanks to a myriad of inexpensive, easy-to-use tools. With e-commerce, Ireland’s SMEs have access to their chosen market of potential customers 24/7, 365 days a week. This trade is worth billions to our economy and is set to grow substantially as more people and businesses go online for the first time.
“If you’re not online, your business is effectively invisible. Our research has shown that 80 percent of Irish consumers go online to search for information about businesses. If you don’t have a presence on the web, you’re missing out on a huge number of potential customers.”
This month, IEDR will publish the latest edition of its dot ie Digital Health Index, a biannual report which measures the ‘health’ of Irish SMEs’ digital assets, like websites, social media and e-commerce capabilities.