IRISH businesses are losing out on their share of the €4bn online market because websites and technology are not up to scratch, a high level business forum has been told.
Managers and owners must do more to harness online customers, from updating their Facebook page to getting their payment systems right, according to a group of technology leaders speaking in Dublin yesterday.
"Who here is proud of their website?", asked Google representative Dave O'Mahony at the online trading event for small businesses, held in Dublin's Aviva stadium. Very few hands were raised.
Irish shoppers spent €4bn online last year, they stressed, but three-quarters of this went out of the country – because only 60pc of Irish small business even have a website.
The event was a joint effort to link Irish businesses and digital leaders, run by Dublin Chamber of Commerce and tech conference Web Summit, which brings some of the world's biggest names in technology to Dublin this week, including PayPal founder Elon Musk.
Facebook's small business marketing manager Felicity McCarthy (pictured) gave examples of Irish businesses whose revenues have jumped thanks to the optimisation of their Facebook profiles.
Walkinstown-based wool company Springwools, she said, attributes a fifth of all sales to its Facebook activities.
Google's team emphasised how online search trends can be useful for stock control purposes. Free "Google Trends" software allows firms to track the points in the year when searches for a specific product peak.
They said the results can help anticipate customer demand and inform stockpiling of reserves.