Did Irish retailers miss the 'Cyber Monday' boat?
The message went out to buy Irish on Cyber Monday, but did the stores do their part.
Much of the nation's media was spreading the message to "buy Irish" on 'Cyber Monday' but how effective were the companies on the selling end?
As an Irish news website we at Independent.ie made a deliberate effort to include Irish companies in a piece published yesterday highlighting some of the best offers on Cyber Monday.
But despite a publicity push by online marketing site eMark, which got coverage in most of the national media, finding the actual Irish companies proved challenging.
The only list we could find was one generated by the meet-up group "E-Commerce Ireland" and hosted on the Ecomevents website.
Of the 59 stores listed, none of those visited by us featured any 'Cyber Monday' deals or sale notifications.
While press releases can guide the media towards spreading the message, if the actual retailers are not clued in, the whole effort lacks impact.
Harvey Norman ran a great sale from its online store, with a 10pc discount on all things electronic and 20pc on furniture, and eBay.ie also had a number of sales in operation.
While these sales benefit the Irish economy, they're far from the homegrown Irish businesses that initiatives such as #buyIrish and eMark should be targetting.
While the concept of buying Irish online is admirable, the newly launched eMark seems to have a way to go.
Five pages of a Google search fails to find an eMark website and when "eMark" is searched for, it is only on the third page of results that the website emerges.
This represents poor visibility for a company that should be prominently displayed and easy to find online as a promoter of Irish goods available on the web.
Inside www.emark.ie a user is presented with two tabs of information and "New Website Coming Soon." There is no list of companies who use eMark, nor is there any news section referring to Cyber Monday.
There are a number of initiatives in place to encourage Irish companies to engage in eCommerce. The Government, via local enterprise boards, is currently offering €2,500 to 2,000 to small traders who can convincingly demonstrate an effort to become eCommerce friendly.
"Getting Irish Business Online" is an initiative, backed by Google, an Post, Blacknight Solutions and County Enterprise Boards, to give Irish companies an online presence in a cheap and painless way.
With Irish consumers spending on average €512 online, the highest in the EU, the sentiment behind the Cyber Monday 'Buy Irish' campaigns makes perfect sense, but until the execution is improved on a business-level, consumers are likely to continue to look abroad for their online bargains.