More Irish shoppers are going online, persuaded by high levels of data security as well as convenience and prices in the virtual world. The trend should keep Internet developers, mobile apps and security specialists busy and tallies with the parallel online retail boom in the UK. By Helen Becket [Published 23/09/2010]
Online security is rated highly by Irish shoppers, according to a summer survey by Visa Europe: 88% of online consumers were confident that Internet retailers were reliable. A further 80% of respondents said they knew what security features to look for on websites.
Irish shoppers spent €2.13 billion online last year, with the average Irish shopper spending €1,450 online per year. Half of the shoppers surveyed believed they could save up to 30% by buying goods on the Internet instead of the high street.
Mobile apps rule
In tune with customers’ growing preference for online transactions, Tesco is to introduce an iPhone clubcard app that will enable customers to scan their phone screen at the checkout without having to search for their card. Other improvements include introducing an online Club card facility to enable customers to browse and spend vouchers on the Internet.
Fashion retailer L K Bennett has also launched a mobile commerce application for the iPhone, iTouch and iPad, allowing users to browse and purchase products using Paypal's mobile express checkout.
Online presence a must
David Fitzsimons, CEO of Irish Retail Excellence confirmed that IT is playing a fundamental role in the online activities of retailers. “If they don’t have an online presence, Irish retailers will not form part of the select portfolio of stores that shoppers research and visit,” he said.
But he said that investment was also being carried out in the back office systems of traditional bricks and mortar stores across Ireland. “There’s currently a particular interest and investment in radio frequency-controlled stock systems, as these reduce the working capital required to hold stock,” he commented.
Debenhams, a major player on Ireland’s high streets, is one retailer investing in IT infrastructure. A five-year contract with BT will upgrade its data network and make it 16 times faster. The network transmits sales and stock order details from Debenhams' 159 stores across the UK to its head office and supply chain centres.
A new suite of network management tools will also ensure that Debenham’s links to tills, supply chain systems and transactional database are always up-and-running.
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