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Last Updated

What Influences Irish Consumers When Buying Online

To say that eCommerce in Ireland has experienced a boom in recent years is an understatement. With more than 44% of Irish enterprises reporting eCommerce sales in 2022 and this number set to increase, Irish retailers seem to be adapting well to the pace of digital society.

But as a modestly-sized nation in a rapidly expanding market, how can Irish retailers keep up with consumer behaviour and ensure their customers aren’t going further afield? Even if online sales in Ireland only make up a small part of your revenue stream, having a strong eCommerce presence with Irish consumers can help you establish stability and future-proof your business.

This is why for Irish retailers online, it’s crucial to understand what influences consumers when buying products and services. But aside from conducting a post-purchase evaluation after each sale and consistently analysing complex buying behaviour, what else should your Irish business keep in mind when it comes to online shopping habits?

In terms of online shopping in Ireland — there’s little our team of eCommerce experts don’t know. To ensure you’re ticking all the boxes (our handy conversation checklist can also help with this!) and are primed for online success with Irish customers, allow us to share our insights.

So, what exactly does your eCommerce business need to consider to boost sales?

1. Emerging Trends

Anyone familiar with the retail industry will know that consumer buying behaviour has changed dramatically in recent years. From an increased demand for efficiency to the rise of mobile shopping and social media — technology is now deeply embedded in the shopping experience. As a result, consumer trends and sub-trends are emerging at hyperspeed.

The consumer decision-making process can be difficult to keep up with, especially with new technology emerging every day. With trends moving fast and an increasing number to juggle at once, it can be a challenge to know which ones align best with your customers and are likely to influence their buying habits.

The good news is that with the right approach, it is possible to get in early on the action and ensure you’re ready to satisfy consumer demands as they emerge.

Data-driven insights

Wondering how your Irish eCommerce business can stay ahead of the crowd? Sometimes, it’s just a case of looking in the right place.

For example, with Google dominating search engine use for the last number of years, the emergence and success of Google Shopping should come as no surprise to Irish retailers.

The reason? Stats.

As of 2021, Google had secured its position with an 86.19% market share for the Desktop Search engine market. With mobile browsing and instant purchasing also being heavily supported by Google (largely driven by consumer demand!), Google taking charge of their own shopping platform was a decision many Irish retailers could see coming.

Now a huge source of sales for online businesses, sellers who choose to feature their products on Google Shopping are prioritising their visibility and taking a proactive approach to reach a wider audience.

To identify which platforms you should be using, influence consumer behaviour, and predict what’s next, it’s vital to:

  • Stay informed about the latest consumer shopping trends and sub-trends in Irish eCommerce and find out who’s investing in them
  • Optimise your business intelligence processes to collect and analyse metrics that inform your decisions and new sales strategies
  • Stay up-to-date with technology developments and their impact on the Irish eCommerce shopping experience
  • Be open-minded about emerging technology but prioritise tech that makes the most sense for your business model, i.e. don’t get caught up in ‘shiny object syndrome
  • Evaluate habitual buying behaviour and analyse what’s driving this behaviour for your website (and your competitors!)
  • Consistently update your analysis of trends and the buying process

2. Convenience and Visibility

Irish consumers now demand efficiency when shopping online. Even when ordering from international retailers, Irish consumers expect fast delivery times and have less tolerance for order delays and inaccuracies.

It’s also important to remember that visibility is another aspect of ‘convenience’ that influences Irish consumers when buying online. Irish consumers are less likely to buy from online retailers they have to consistently go searching for.

With mobile shopping and social media having made online shopping more accessible for Irish consumers (and more competitive for retailers!), it’s time to evaluate just how easy it is to connect with your eCommerce brand.

Consumers don’t want to waste time looking for what they need, and retailers don’t want the competition to be found first.

As a baseline for ensuring your eCommerce brand is discoverable, you’ll need:

  • A polished and high-performing website (for this, we recommend hiring an eCommerce web design expert specialising in the Irish market)
  • A great SEO strategy (a top web design agency in Ireland should also be able to help with this!)
  • Consistent and engaging content (with a focus on platforms where your target audience is most active)
  • A well-optimised Google Business Profile (essential for local search visibility)
  • Regularly updated product listings on all relevant marketplaces

A strong backlink profile and online reputation management (ORM) strategy to boost your website’s authority and trustworthiness

Don’t forget social media….

With the advent of Instagram shopping, TikTok Live, and Pinterest shopping tools, social media has become an integral part of the eCommerce experience in Ireland.

With paid ads and digital influencer marketing continuing to have a high influence on Irish consumers, shoppers are demanding instant purchase functionality through social media. This means it’s now necessary for retailers to integrate social media shopping into their eCommerce website design and overall digital strategy to avoid being left behind.

3. Brand Image

In the ever-changing landscape of online shopping, it’s important to remember that brand image still plays a critical role in consumers’ purchasing decisions. Building a strong presence helps you connect with your target audience and is essential for differentiating yourself from the competition. 

This is why an increasing number of Irish retailers are recognising the value of a customer-centric approach and prioritising the needs of customers above all else.

With 74% of Irish consumers believing brand loyalty is about feeling valued and understood, the right messaging can help you:

  • Resonate with your audience more effectively
  • Increase customer retention rates
  • Ensure your customers feel seen

But with consumers firmly in the driver’s seat, how can eCommerce brands keep up?

AI personalisation

AI personalisation is a game-changer for eCommerce brands looking to create a more targeted shopping experience. With the help of artificial intelligence, retailers can analyse customer data to better understand their preferences and tailor marketing efforts and marketing campaigns accordingly.

For example, AI can be used to create personalised product recommendations, increasing conversion rates and improving the shopping experience. One such example is Shopbox AI, an AI-powered adaptive shopping experience platform for online retail. Shopbox AI adapts to each shopper’s behaviour and interests in real-time, matching them with products they’re likely to be interested in.

By using this level of AI personalisation with more personal factors taken into account, eCommerce brands can not only meet customer expectations; they can exceed them.

4. Credibility and Trust

Protecting personal data and providing exceptional customer service are major trust drivers for 55% of Irish consumers. Especially in the era of online sales and increased security risks, it’s crucial to establish a feeling of safety for your customers.

With social responsibility, sustainability, and ethical business practices also increasingly important to Irish consumer behaviour, evaluating what your target audience cares about and keeping them informed about how your eCommerce brand is addressing these issues is vital.

With both internal and external factors at play when it comes to establishing trust for your online business, we suggest:

  • Allocating a section of your eCommerce website to policy announcements and values, e.g. sustainability policies, employment equality 
  • Leveraging user-generated content and testimonials
  • Ensuring your company’s privacy policy is easily accessible (for eCommerce websites, Ireland has its own set of standards that must be upheld)
  • Providing secure and reliable payment methods to enhance customer trust
  • Offering transparent pricing policies and avoiding hidden fees
  • Providing excellent after-sales support, including easy return policies and prompt customer service
  • Partnering with trustworthy and reputable suppliers to ensure product quality and ethical sourcing practices

Transparent shipping policies

Across Irish eCommerce, transparent shipping policies are incredibly important for purchasing decisions, especially when handling goods from the UK. With ambiguity and unease about customs charges sparked by Brexit, Irish consumers are cautious about additional expenses when shopping online.

With 31% of digital consumers saying they’ve abandoned a shopping cart due to unexpected shipping costs, eCommerce businesses must provide clear information on their websites about whether or not customs charges apply. Being transparent and upfront about your fees ensures consumers aren’t left with a bad impression of your service.

Tip: Irish retailers should also consider Retailer Excellence Trustmark membership to reassure consumers of their credibility and trustworthiness. Increasing protection for consumers and retailers, the Trustmark is a sign that Irish companies uphold high standards in the retail industry.

5. Customer Experience

When designing an eCommerce website, retailers must now focus on creating a positive and seamless customer experience. From mobile accessibility to a streamlined checkout experience, consumers engage best with retailers whose websites don’t cause them frustration.

Luckily, the range of digital tools and eCommerce solutions Ireland has access to is plentiful. From social media integration to AI support, the right technology can significantly elevate the customer experience.

To enhance the customer experience for your target audience, we recommend:

  • Offering multiple payment options to cater to customers’ preferences and increase convenience
  • Providing detailed product information and high-quality product images/video to help customers make informed purchasing decisions (and even encourage them to revisit your site during the post-purchase stage and share their purchase with others)
  • Running regular website audits and ensuring your site’s performance is up to scratch
  • Offering personalised recommendations and promotions based on customer browsing and previous purchase decisions

Dissonance reducing buying behaviour

Heard of dissonance reducing buying behaviour? Dissonance reducing buying behaviour refers to a buying situation where the consumer is highly involved in the decision making process but is indifferent about the brands offering the product.

In this instance, luxury brands need to carefully manage the post-purchase experience to reduce any doubts or regrets customers may have after making a purchase. If their experience with you and your product is good, they’ll likely return to your brand. If not, their indifference can turn into a clear avoidance of your brand.

How Ireland Website Design can help ensure you’re influencing the right shoppers

From keeping up with psychological factors influencing purchase decisions to developing effective marketing strategies for different audience segments, getting to grips with consumer behaviour isn’t easy. Luckily, there are experts out there who can help!

As web design and digital marketing experts, we’ve helped eCommerce businesses all over Ireland (and the world!) establish themselves with the exact type of customers they want. From delivering high-performance websites to helping get your brand strategy off the ground, our team is well-versed in the needs of both your eCommerce business and your customers.

To speak directly with a member of our team and learn more about our services, there are plenty of ways to get in touch.

For effective marketing strategies that work for eCommerce, Ireland Website Design is your go-to agency.

Don’t forget to check out our conversation checklist for additional insights into what your customers are looking for.

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