Category Archives: Digital News

Google Chrome’s “Badge of Shame” for slow loading websites.

Googles’ plans to label websites based on load-speed performances and what it might mean for your website.

A few weeks ago, the tech giant, Google,  announced at the Chrome Dev Summit in San Francisco their intention to introduce a ‘Badge of Shame’ for slow loading website. This would give users an immediate message that the website is slow to load.  Similarly, they would like to reward faster loading sites with a ‘green badge’ or a badge of honour.  Effectively, they will be putting certain websites in the bold corner, and others up on a pedestal.  The worry for those who identified as  slow, is how users will react to the branding.  Currently, the Chrome team are choosing some design options for the proposed ‘Badges ‘, but it is thought that it will look something like this.

What is it all about?

The press release stated ‘We think the web can do better and want to help users understand when a site may load slowly, while rewarding sites delivering fast experiences. Badging is intended to identify when sites are authored in a way that makes them slow generally, looking at historical load latencies. Further along, we may expand this to include identifying when a page is likely to be slow for a user based on their device and network conditions.’

So, for now, the proposal is that a website which takes time to load will issue a warning to the user. At Dmac Media, we recognise that this has also got a positive aspect to it, even for those considered to be performing poorly in terms of download speed.  Ok, so Google Chrome are ‘outing’ your website with a ‘badge of discredit’, but they are also letting your potential customers know that it might just take a few more seconds. This may delay the compulsion to click away from a slow loading site, and encourage  traffic which might have been lost. 

The intention, we are told, is not to name and shame, but to reward better loading sites and to give transparency into typical site performance. Overall, they are hoping to improve the web for users.  At Dmac Media, we are totally onside with this.

How to avoid the Google Chrome ‘Bold Corner’

There are lots of reasons why a website might not load fast.  For instance, the images on your website might be unnecessarily large and could do with some optimisation. Perhaps your website developer hasn’t minified some website resources or maybe they aren’t using the latest in web development best practices when building.

There are a variety of online resources that can help identify what exactly is causing your website to load slowly.  For most people, these page speed tools are stacked with technical terms and developer mumbo jumbo, and so it is probably best to leave your website speed enhancements to the experts.   There are other incentives to making a website load faster.  Over the past number of years, we have seen numerous businesses improve their overall website speed and generate 25% more organic traffic. Even better, is the 56% increase in revenue generated through such websites year on year.

We always recommend our clients visit GT Metrix.com and check out how your website performs from a speed perspective.

If your website should be one of the first to receive the Google Chrome Badge, there are fixes that can be done to have the badge revoked, as long as it the criteria for assessing the load speed is based on the website performance and not on device hardware or network connection.  For now, the plan is expected to happen in gradual steps, but according to the Chrome Tech team, it will be broadened over time to embrace increasingly stringent criteria.  The long-term goal is to define branding for high-quality experiences, which may include signals beyond just speed. As excellence is the goal of all promoting ecommerce business and an increasingly smoother internet use, we can, tentatively, welcome the so called ‘Badge of Shame’ while humbly suggesting a less emotive title might to ease the transition for web site owners.

If you’ve got concerns about your website speed, or if your reading this after being tagged with the dreaded “Slow Loading Badge” get in touch with us today.

https://blog.chromium.org/2019/11/moving-towards-faster-web.html

Business strategy around a table using computer & paper

Machine Learning in PPC: What it can do for you?

Each and every day, we as humans interact with a wide variety of technologies. From the phone in our pocket to watch on your wrist, technology is an ever-increasing part of modern life for each one of us. In many ways, technology is limiting the need for human interaction, with self service checkouts now commonplace in supermarkets and intelligent fast food ordering through dedicated websites, it would appear as though human intervention is seen now as hinderance rather than adding value.  The same is holding true when it comes to advertising, and in particular search engine advertising, where in recent years we have seen the rollout of machine learning technology.

In 2017, Google began unveiling the first of their machine learning technologies through its ad platform, and since then, developments have continued to make advertising your business online significantly easier. In this piece we will explore a few of the machine learning technologies available to business and search marketers in Google Ads to help you hone your skill and grow your overall return on investment through Google Ads.

People using technology around a table

In – Market Audiences – Targeting People who actually need your business

According to Search Engine Land, Google completes over 63,000 searches every second. Pretty astonishing right?

But with so many searches happening every second, serving your ads to the correct target market has proven difficult. But not anymore.  We’ve already mentioned that the first of Googles Machine Learning Technologies was unveiled in 2017. In-Market Audience targeting was said technology.

For the first time, businesses can target potential customers actively researching solution providers with their advertising.

Google’s Machine Learning technology interprets search behaviour, website interactions & search patterns to develop a picture of the service or solution a user is looking for. Using ourselves as an example, we can now target individuals actively researching web service providers such as SEO & SEM partners as well as people looking for website developers.

Aside from the obvious benefits, in-market audience targeting can prove an invaluable resource for building brand awareness for fledging businesses, as they can deliver their marketing message to individuals actively looking for solutions

increasing users graph in google analytics

Bid Strategies – Get more users to your website through bid automation

A further addition to Google Ads is the introduction of new smart bid strategies. These strategies utilise a succinct combination of machine learning and contextual signs to deliver intelligent bids during the bidding process. Factoring in elements such as time of day, user location and even the users device allows smart bidding strategies utilise the most appropriate bid.

Smart Bidding strategies can be harnessed in a multitude of ways, but marketers should endeavour to ensure their chosen strategy aligns with their marketing objectives. Having used smart bidding with great effect over the past number of months, we have seen significant reductions in cost per acquisition metrics for a multitude of clients across a variety of industries.

Responsive Search Ads – Serve enticing ad copy that actually appeals to your customers.

Responsive Search Ads are a machine learning newcomer so to speak. Currently in Beta, responsive search ads allow advertisers add a variety of USP focused headlines, as well as numerous descriptions, and Googles Machine Learning technology will serve the most appropriate ad copy to the end user. Although it is still relatively early days for this technology, we have seen it reduce cost per click by up to 75%.

We envisage this automation technology becoming mainstream following beta testing and will become search advertising cornerstone going forward. Get ahead of the competition today and start using and testing responsive search ads in your Google Ads Campaigns.

So, what does the future hold? The reality is the sky is the limit. We are only beginning to see machine learning at work in Google Ads and I have no doubt that machine learning will become a profound influence on search engine marketing over the coming years. So why not try out some of the new features

New Ecommerce Website

How to Access Funding for your E-Commerce Website?

I think it’s fair to say that all business sectors benefit from having a quality responsive website. Within each sector the business may range from a start-up right through to a longstanding multi-national.

As such, there are a wide range of opportunities to access funding, each designed to be suitable to the age and status of your business.
Typically they fall into one of the following categories.

  1. Private Enterprise Start Up
  2. Existing SME (Less than 10 employees)
  3. Existing SME (More than 10 Employees Less than 250)

Back to Work Enterprises

Back to Work Enterprise Allowance

The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) scheme supports people who are in receipt of particular social welfare payments to become self-employed. The qualifying criteria for this scheme are as follows:

  1. Starting a new business a self-employed person
  2. The Business model is pre approved
  3. The applicant has been in receipt of Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance for the past 9 months or more.

Under this scheme you may avail of grant funding for many things that will assist you with your business, for the online side of things the allowance is €500 for Website registration, related services and production with a 20% contribution being made by the applicant.

Read More Here>>>

1.Private Enterprise Start Up

Enterprise Ireland – Start-up Team

If you’re thinking about a new start-up business that has a product or service that is suitable for international markets, has the potential to create 10 jobs or more and has the potential to generate €1m or more in export sales within the first 3 years,  then you may qualify for financial assistance from Enterprise Ireland as a High Potential Start-up.

Read more here>>>

2.Existing SME (Less than 10 employees)

Technical Assistance for Micro Exporters

Technical Assistance for Micro Exporter’s Grant enables clients to explore and develop new market opportunities. This grants part-funds the costs that can be incurred in investigating and researching export markets, e.g. exhibiting at Trade Fairs, preparing marketing material and developing websites specifically targeting overseas markets.

Grant Terms:

  • Grant Covers 50% of eligible costs (net of vat) to a max of €2,500.
  • Applications must be made prior to any expenditure being incurred
  • Payments will be made to approved projects on receipt of proof of payment of all qualifying and approved expenses.
  • Successful applicants should consider using an Enterprise Ireland Mentor to develop an export/marketing plan.

Projects eligible for support include:

Enterprises not employing more than 10 people

  • Enterprises located within the geographic location of the Local Enterprise Office
  • Enterprises operating in the commercial sphere
  • Enterprises must demonstrate a market for their proposed product/service
  • Enterprises engaged in manufacturing or internationally traded services
  • Innovative businesses with prototype products
  • Enterprises must not have received any funding for this proposal from any other source

Eligible Expenditure categories

  • Participation at trade fairs and shows covering Trade Show Exhibitor costs including rental/fees relating to space/stands
  • Participation at International trade networking events organised through the Enterprise Europe Network
  • Development of specific Marketing Materials aimed at exploring new export markets
  • Translation, e.g. of existing material (booklets, web-pages, etc. for export markets
  • Development of export related websites
  • Investigation of new internal or external processes to develop export business, e.g. new business model or the carrying out of non-regulatory technical requirements

LEO Trading Online Voucher Scheme

 The “Trading Online Voucher Scheme” has been running for about 5 years now and so far has provided funding to over 2000 different Irish businesses.

Background

In 2014 under the National Digital Strategy the Irish Government recognised that there weren’t enough Irish Businesses operating E-Commerce websites. At that time, 85% of all online spending in Ireland went to foreign retailers, as late as 2017 60% of online spending in Ireland still went to foreign retailers. (Hamilton, 2018)

So, the Irish Government under the National Digital Strategy designed the Online Trading Voucher Scheme aimed at “Optimising your business with an E-Commerce website” The government were really concerned about the amount of monies leaving Ireland considering that “The Irish people are the biggest international online shoppers in the world” and over the last few years the trend towards shopping online has grown in 2018  

Irish consumers spent approximately €7.8bn online, with this figure expected to exceed €10bn by 2020” (Hamilton, 2018)

According to Government figures, businesses that participated in the LEO Trading Online Voucher Scheme reported a 20pc average increase in sales, with an 80pc spike in sales leads.” (Tannam, 2019)

Before you get too excited!

Your business must meet certain criteria, to qualify for the scheme, businesses must have:

  • No more than 10 employees;
  • Less than €2m in turnover;
  • Be trading for at least 6 months
  • Be located in the region of the Local Enterprise Office to whom they are applying.

*Find your local enterprise office here>>>

If you don’t meet these criteria you won’t be eligible for this funding:

Example: You run a retail business, employ 9 people, your turnover is less than €2,000,000 per annum and you are located in Cork, you apply to the LEO office in Cork for a Trading Online Voucher

The application will require that you get quotes from 3 different Web Developers, you supply these and some information about your business, attend one of their regular information sessions and all things being equal you are awarded the Online Trading Online Voucher.

Note: The LEO office does not decide or define who you work with, that is entirely up to you regardless of the difference in quote values.

NOTE: You can only get a refund on monies spent after your application has been processed and you have been accepted on the scheme.

3.Existing SME (More than 10 Employees Less than 250)

Enterprise Ireland – Established SME Funding

This section sets out the main funding supports and programmes for established small and medium sized enterprises in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors. An Established SME client is a company that is not a High Performance Start Up client, has an established trading record, the company (or its group of companies) employs between 10 and 250 employees, has either an annual turnover of less than €50m or an annual balance sheet of less than €43m.

Funding decisions are determined by the;

  • Need for financial support for the project
  • Potential employment and sales growth
  • Previous funding provided to the company
  • Regional location of the company

Read More Here>>>

Conclusion

Generally speaking, if you haven’t accessed funding recently, then you are most likely eligible for one of the funding opportunities listed above. The one thing I wouldn’t do is to do nothing.  Each and every day your company has a poor website presence or worse still, no website presence,  your competitors are rising above you!

References

Tannam, E. (2019, April 19th). Government announces funding for small businesses to boost e-commerce. Retrieved from Silicon Republic: https://www.siliconrepublic.com/companies/small-business-funding-ireland

Rural Companies Flourish Online

The enticing option of leaving the city and making an online living in rural Ireland

In modern Ireland, the cost of housing in the main urban centres is eye-wateringly  expensive and simply paying for the roof over your head, cripples any hope of enjoying other activities such as eating, driving and enjoying a sneaky pint after work!

It is little wonder that city folk, in Dublin, Cork and Limerick, are eyeing their country cousins with envious and jealous looks.  This ironic turn of events comes after decades of pompous disdain at the lack of bread and gin varieties available in your average Irish village.

Now, the lifestyle of rural Ireland has it all.  Panini’s, hummus, cocktails, nature, beautiful views and an easier pace of life.  Housing prices is just the tip of a large iceberg offering a better living standard. The eternal question for city slickers anxious to how to leave the rat race, but still maintain a living wage in the rural setting.  Online business’s have been the option for many rural folk and it could be the way forward for anyone seeking a more fulfilled life in the sticks.    A strong online presence may be the key to having your cake and eating it.

Quilt Yarn Stitch is one company who have both a shopfront on the high street and a busy, vibrant website. This beautiful fabric, yarn and craft store in Tuam, Co. Galway wanted to model their online presence on the personal experiences of their actual store.  www.quiltyyarnstitch is a flourishing, bright and engaging website. Róisín McManus explains ‘We wanted to have a webshop that customers would truly love and that would be their “go to” shop for all their needs, particularly for patchwork and quilting.   Our actual store is bursting at the seams (pardon the pun) so there’s something for everyone and we hope our website reflects this.   Our team love to serve fabric to yarn lovers of all kinds – quilters, dressmakers, knitters, crocheters, crafters, guys and girls, young and old- We feel  our website  is a place, like the shop itself, where you can find lots of lovely things.”   With a flat rate of delivery in Ireland of just €3 and a reputation for great customer service, QuiltYarnStitch has expanded their customer base far beyond the town of Tuam, and is now competing well in the lucrative school market providing Leaving Cert and Junior Cert packs.

Of course, good broadband infrastructure is a key to managing a rural online business.  If you are used to fast and unlimited, it can be a shock to go West and experience the digital divide first hand. The Irish Government has reiterated its commitment to providing Broadband connectivity to the entire Ireland in the coming years.  For those living in the ‘black spots’ of internet access, precariously poised on the wardrobe in the back bedroom to improve the signal to an outdated dongle, this is particularly good news. Some 50% of small business in the Cork/Munster rate their connectivity as less than excellent, so the improvement to the network is definitely needed. However, It is worth noting that most rural business cite the cost of going online as a much bigger barrier to change, than the connectivity issue.  In the IEDR SME Digital Health Index for 2018, only 6% of online businesses’ said that poor internet connectivity was preventing growth.  Certainly, it has not hampered some companies.

Quickcrop,  www.quickcrop.ie is a thriving company operating in a rural setting in South Sligo Andrew Davidson and Niall McAllister sell vegetable growing systems and products for the keen amateur (and professional) gardener.  Most of their business is online. Niall explains, “The internet gives you access to 7 billion people and you can build a business here very quickly. The reason we’re in Ballymote is because there’s good broadband here and the warehousing costs are quite small”. The secrets to Quickcrop’s success lies in their great products and service showcased through a vibrant, well designed and constantly updated website.  Niall is aware that it is an unlikely business to do well online, and yet it succeeds with a healthy domestic trade, while also doing well in the UK and European Market.

Working from a more relaxed country setting is not the only reason for enhancing your online presence. The Retail and Consumer Report of 2018 confirms that more and more Irish people search for goods and services online prior to purchase and that mobile Ireland has the fifth largest percentage of internet shoppers in the world.  That’s an incredible amount of retail therapy for one small country!  In 2017, keyboard consumers in Ireland spent a staggering €3.3billion.

Panelshack is a small family run business located in Drumnagran in Tullyvin, Cootehill   Co.Cavan. www.panelshack.ie. John Brady has been in the fitted furniture business for over 40 years. In 2010 he and his son James expanded the range and began manufacturing high quality wall panelling. The increase in popularity and the trend towards painted timber and furniture being used extensively in homes ensured success. They produce the panelling products in their workshop and host an extensive the showroom in Tullyvin.  A modern mobile optimised website, with an easy click and collect option and comprehensive delivery system ensures that they have plenty of clients who never ever set foot in Cavan.  A dynamic web presence is their key to providing a high quality product to a large and diverse customer base.

But it is not just manufacturers and retailers who prosper in a more rustic setting.  Rachel Gotto www.rachelgotto.ie conducts her Galway and online therapy consultations through a beautiful, informative and helpful website. The big sky and fantastic views of Spiddal are the backdrop to her successful business.

In Summary

There will always some reluctance before deciding to finally swop the stilettos and maccachinos for some stout walking boots and, well, maccachinos. (It’s not that backward in the villages anymore!)  The move to the good life is very enticing.  Who wouldn’t want to wake up to clean air and the sounds of nature, knowing that the bank balance is now as healthy as your lungs?  The cost of living is significantly lower in the Western Region than in Dublin and other areas. You get so much more for your money.  Housing is, of course the most obvious difference, with average rural rentals at just €613 per month and three bed houses for sale between €90 -120K So, it may well be time to consider that ‘big move to the country.  Rural companies are thriving online. So why wouldn’t you?

Resources

https://www.pwc.ie/reports/retail-consumer-report-2018.html

https://www.independent.ie/regionals/sligochampion/news/online-retail-can-work-in-rural-hub-35430638.html

Look West

The most common, hackable, guessable, unsecure passwords and why you should never use them!

You need to review your passwords now.

Many of us are lazy about our passwords. We are lazy, we are complacent and we are highly likely to be hacked. This does not mean that some spotty faced genius teenager wearing an ‘anonymous’ mask is hiding in a dimly lit cellar, spending all his days cracking codes just to get into your online Wish shopping account or your secret Tinder profile. This scenario is possible but the reality is actually a lot more sinister than that!  There is now computer software designed specifically to decipher and publicise your precious passwords. A computer that never tires of trying all the computations of birthday dates and obvious words to find the secret key to your life. A weak and obvious password can leave your emails, bank details and personal information at the mercy of unscrupulous hackers.

 

 

Quite apart from the computerised password thief, there is a very real danger that using the same email and password for every account, from Pinterest to online banking is giving your details away. Low security sites with access to your details may inadvertently be receiving the very same details needed for more secure information.  You need a unique password for each account you log into.  If this sounds like too much trouble, you need to seriously weigh the effort up against the horrors of identity theft.

 

Despite the risks, the vast majority of people do not give a second thought to their password choices. It appears as if the main criteria for choosing is ease of remembering and (rather pathetically) the proximity of the tiles on the keyboard. Sequential keyboard action, such as   12345, is an oft chosen requirement in the most hackable passwords.

 

Let’s take a look at the most popular, and therefore most obviously breached passwords in the world and take a salutary lesson in online security.

 

 

123456 

Boom!  The most used password in the world. Don’t start using it unless you want to lose your privacy. A computer programme will crack this baby instantly, so be wise. Try something a little smarter. But you need to be very smart. According to the site, www.howsecureismypassword.net. The seemingly respectable password, ‘orpheus37!’  Will take an estimated one month for any self-respecting hacking software to decipher.   However if you get really creative, and chose something like ‘pigswilltime2078’ you take the code cracking time  up to an estimated 6 million years.

Password  

The second most chosen password in the world is ‘password’.  Duh!  I have no doubt that, like some worn out oft repeated joke, using ‘password’ as a password is thought of as the height of irony and humour by some. Computers don’t get irony. Hackers don’t get humour.  It’s a no brainer people. Choose something more exotic, more cryptic and less likely to cause you grief.  Check out the strength of your choice of passwords at this site. www.passwordmeter.com. The ironically hilarious, ‘password’ password gets an 8% score and is very weak while ‘ExplodingSpuds2’ is an 83% strong choice.

12345678

For the most unimaginative amongst us, a quick finger dance across the number tiles on the keyboard, gives the iconic ‘12345678’ password.  Yeah, you guessed it! Another gift to hackers , waiting to help themselves to bank details and a wealth of private information.  If you are creatively challenged and cannot think of any alternatives, then finger dance along to www.random.org/passwords/ .  This site generates some tough password computations, such as pQZXXJAg and R9cPZkVh. Totally safe and secure.  Now your only problem is remembering them!

Qwerty: 12345:123456789

Another lot of lazy keyboard gliding gives us three passwords that represent the fourth, fifth and sixth most used/unsafe passwords in the world.  Come on guys! Be original.  Be secure.  Get a unique, yet memorable password from here: www.warpconduit.net/password-generator

Letmein

The seventh most used password in the world is ‘Letmein’. And the answer is Yes!  We will let you in! In fact, we will let everyone in.  What the password ‘Letmein’ does though, is introduce us to the ‘passphrase’ rather than the password. An ideal way of remembering good strong codes, when passwords fail and a good way to foil the hackers.   its a clever way of thinking of a much longer password. Dictionary words and names are not restricted, and you can be 15 characters long.   So a line from a poem, quote from a book, song lyric or a movie are all ideal.

1234567

Number Eight in the most used passwords, is another obvious numerical sequence, Low security, high risk. Low creativity, high chance of being breached online!  You know what to do!

Football   

The password ‘football’ is number nine in password popularity and while we don’t know the gender balance for usage, it is inconsequential as it is easily hacked for and by everyone.  It is never a good idea to put anything personal in your password.  This includes hobbies, place names, your obsession with teapots or your pet names. It is never wise to use birthday years as there are only 2000 numbers computations for the computer software to play with and security will soon be breached.  “Nothing too obvious” is a good maxim and possibly a good password if you throw in a few ampersands and exclamation marks to fool the hacking software!

 Iloveyou

Oh we are a romantic bunch! We have made ‘iloveyou’ the tenth most hackable, guessable and accessible password in the world.  Time for some self-love.

 

Love your own privacy. Love your own security, Review your passwords regularly. Choose high strength passwords and pass phrases. Have a unique password for each account. Stay safe and use some creative mischief to invent user friendly passwords that keep your personal log in’s more secure.

Farmers are shopping online – from high heeled wellies to a limousine calf.

This week, the Irish company, Dairygold closed the doors on their creamery in Dunmanway, West Cork.  Locals bemoaned the loss of their treasured shop, which many had used all their lives.    Donal Hurley, a farmer, said that the Company had cited online shopping and farmers ordering supplies over the internet, as a reason for the demise of the local creamery and its ultimate closure.

While Donal and farmers like him are sad to see the end of the local store and its place in the fabric of life of the local community, there is no doubt that the viability of traditional creameries is a thing of the past. The local creamery store, with the trail of tractors parked outside and the shared greetings and shared gossip and stories will be confined to memory.   Nostalgia aside, we must accept that there are more practical, modern methods of shopping, which reflect the life of Ireland’s busy young farmers. Many agricultural workers have two jobs and young families.  The smartphone is replacing the more traditional retail habits of today’s farmers.

 

 

Ireland has the fifth largest percentage of internet shoppers in the world.

That is an incredible amount of retail therapy for one small country!  In 2017, keyboard consumers in Ireland spent a staggering €3.3billion. The farming sector are among the growing number of willing internet shoppers.  Busy lifestyles and the rising use of technology are just some of the factors which are enticing the Irish farmer to go online to buy.  The choice of products, the competitive prices and the free advice accompanying veterinary supplies, seeds and farm products are  also very tempting factors.

One agricultural supplier who specialises in online purchases, reported a 126% increase in spring retail sales between 2017 and 2018.  And the figure is still rising.

Buying a product on agridirect.ie

 

Companies like Agridirect www.agridirect.ie  are making the best use of their internet presence to reap the benefits of the agricultural communities online spending.   Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and investment in digital marketing strategies have seen Agirdirect go from strength to strength in online shopping.  Astute farmers can shop for better value online, comparing prices and seeking special offers.  There is also the opportunity to showcase the more unusual products and the latest in technology.  High heeled wellies are one such item, although not hi-tech, they are unusual.  While they garnered much attention, but alas, sales were minimal. There are still some things the Irish farmer is not quite ready for yet.  However, the Foxlight is typical of a product which may have never become known in the mountains of Mourne or the Wicklow valleys if it were not championed on the internet. The Foxlight is an Australian invention which has proved itself invaluable in keeping lambs safe from foxes in the spring.   It is now a best-selling online sensation for Irish sheep farmers.

 

 

Farmers have become more comfortable with buying over the internet and this has even extended to purchasing livestock. We are not referring to the impulse buy of a donkey or a laying hen on Done Deal, but to the livestock marts online.   The online mart may not sound too appealing if you are fan of the banter, the food stalls and the craic of the rural mart, but it is fast becoming a virtual space where farmers can check prices and view the competition.  Commenting on the popularity of online auction, Brendan Hannigan, Founder of Livestock-Live.com said “With the digital revolution, farmers across Ireland are embracing new methods in every aspect of agriculture …and I believe that Livestock-Live.com will act as the catalyst for the online buying and selling of livestock across the country.  It remains to be seen if the county marts will be replaced by online markets, but it is certain that the Irish farmer is moving to a new way of ordering his supplies and goods.

 

As market analysts, Euromonitor International, predict that online sales could reach just under the €5bn mark by 2022, all retailers should be considering improving their online presence. It is not wise to get left behind in the digital shopping revolution.  The agricultural sector is a large consumer base that spends €565m a year on fertiliser alone and when you consider the other consumables, veterinary medicine, machinery, equipment, clothing etc. needed to do the arduous job of farming today, you realise it is a seller’s market.

 

References

https://www.livestock-live.com/

https://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/almost-50-increase-in-people-shopping-with-their-phone-467689.html

https://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/fivefold-increase-in-online-shopping-since-2007-469059.html

 

 

 

Used Car Sales Web Designers

Selling Cars Online – The Digital Future

 

An inviting, well designed, website with easy functionality is a must for all car salesmen/motor dealers in these digital times when the go-to instinct of all shrewd millennials is to reach for the smartphone before every purchase. Everything from a simple falafel sandwich to a high end Hybrid car is accessed and assessed online prior to purchase.  Car buyers too, are increasingly researching, comparing and buying on the net.

 

The latest online research indicates that Millennials (defined as those young up and coming customers) are overwhelmingly open to buying cars online. Over a third of those who took part in a Trustpilot survey on the digital future of car buying, said they would research and purchase their new vehicle online.  It is no surprise that online research is already a feature in potential car purchases with over 71% of potential car- buyers doing online searches before they purchase (Consumer Association). But despite the online searching, there was still a reluctance for a full purchase online, and as consumer trends change, this too, will become a reality for many motor traders.

 

This change to a digital future for car sales, demonstrates the need for auto retailers to digitally transform and update their online presence. This includes improving the company website, improving your presence on third party websites and engaging on social media in a more meaningful way. The clever car dealer must start thinking that the internet is not just an extension of the car salesroom or the garage forecourt, it is the gateway to potential buyers.    Third-party sites are the now the most popular starting point for car shopping (used by 78% of potential car buyers). It is essential to have an impressive presence on sites like Carzone and Done Deal to attract the car browsing public.

 

The Society of Irish Motor Industry recommend that consumers research online in advance of buying a car and then go on to buy locally for the best deal.

 

We can’t emphasis enough the importance the importance of doing your research when buying a car particularly a second-hand car you need to be well informed as you are not the original owner.

 

They even offer their own website, www. beepbeep.ie as a good start for second hand purchases, as it displays cars from SIMI members, with car history checks already completed.  It is only one of many third party sites available for the buyer to peruse.  Check out which ones offer you, the trade the best deal and have the most traffic, and make sure you are visible, visited and updated regularly.

 

According to the Motor trade publication, Autotrader, 71% of car shoppers will spend a lot of time researching car prices online, before test driving. Just under two thirds of prospective car buyers will find the actual car they want listed for sale on motor trader websites.  Car buyers will also use online searches to compare different models and prices. They will seek the current value and expert reviews on cars and even use detailed video test drives prior to visiting a car show room. Finally they use the internet to locate a car dealer locally or to get dealer info and reviews.

 

Motor Traders need to embrace the digital age.

 

 

Trustpilot, the consumer review site has important message:    “For those seeking to appeal to Millennials, the message is clear – build a compelling digital experience that provides access to the buying and service experiences of others. By doing so you’ll appeal on their terms, as our research clearly shows this segment is ready to buy online. The winners in the industry will be those that embrace change and transformation.”

 

At Dmac Media, drawing on our years of experience in providing outstanding websites and digital marketing expertise to the motor industry, we put it in more simple terms.  The website of a successful motor trader needs to be sleek, classy with an ease of functionality. Your potential client will view it on a number of devices including smartphones.   The buyer wants to see featured cars with video, imagery and the increasingly popular 360 spins. They also expect access to finance applications and simple contact methods.  A car that lacks detail is a huge turnoff!  Not just for that car but for brand.

 

With projected new car sales for 2018 expected to be in the region of 125,000, and considering the vibrant trade in second hand vehicles, it is vital for the independent motor trader not to get left behind in the world of online car sales.  Social media, third party sites and your own amazing website are all part of keeping up with the online trends. Embrace the future and start forward thinking with a website revamp and a digital marketing strategy that will ultimately increase your footfall and sales.

 

More Useful Links

6 Top Social Media Tips for Car Dealers

 

25 Amazing Statistics on How Consumers Shop for Cars

 

 

URLs & Domain Names | Dmac Media

{Video} Cyber Squatting – What is it and what to do about it!

Ever heard of cyber squatting?

 

In this month’s video installment, Dave McEvoy explores the lucrative world of cyber squatting, which can and has proved costly for many small business in Ireland.

 

Cyber Squatting is the term given to the purchasing of a domain name with the sole purpose of reselling it to an individual or business who really want it, or really need it at a higher price.  For most business domain names can be purchased for up to €50 however, if a cyber squatter purchases a domain name ahead of you, they tend to command thousands in order to turn over ownership of the name itself.

 

Check out the video below to learn how to avoid paying exorbitant prices for a domain name

 

Choosing the right payment partner for your website

According to research carried out by RBR Online Card payments increased by 28% in 2016 and is set to increase by 100% by 2022

More on that here: https://www.rbrlondon.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/GC22_Press_Release_280218.pdf

 

Traditionally online payment was only considered by ecommerce operators, but more and more business owners are providing simple online payment options for their customers.  Customers now expect to be able to pay online for everything from utility bills to automobiles.  It has become a norm.  More importantly in a world where consumers demand choice, they now expect to pay with their preferred method.

 

If you have payment options on your website or are thinking about offering them then you will be looking to partner with payment processors.  This blog gives you a little insight into the types of processors as well as some pros and cons for each.

 

Let’s talk about the two broad categories for payment processors:

 

Dependant processors

 

Dependant processors are providers that require a separate Merchant bank account to receive funds from credit card transactions.  This is separate to your standard business bank account.

 

All major banks provide merchant account services.  Setting up a merchant bank account can be time consuming and the bank will apply its own charges over and above the payment processor charges.  Typically, they will charge between 1-2% commission on your transactions and may have a minimum administration fee if your transaction volume is low.  These additional charges should be factored in when selecting a provider.

 

Dependant processors will also apply standard monthly fees for processing. Normally starting around €25 per month (as at August 2018) This covers you for a set volume of transactions with additional costs for transactions over the limit.

 

Two of the more popular processors are Global Payments (formerly Realex) & Sage Pay Both have very high standards of customer support and have a proven track record for stability in card processing.

 

If your business happens to use Sage accounting software Sage Pay offers options for automatically integrating with your accounts.

 

If you are selecting this type payment processor then you should be aware of the tendency for many of these to be white label version of other processors.  This won’t impact on the day to day management but if technical issues arise during the website integration it can cause delays as you do not have direct access to the processor technicians.

 

Aggregated processors

 

Aggregated processors provide both payment processing and merchant services.  They do not need a separate account.  This makes it a lot easier for start up business to manage.   Their charging is usually commission based and can range from 3-5% based on volume.  The aggregated providers tend to be web based with low levels of human contact for troubleshooting.  The logic being that their system is so easy you don’t need hand holding.

 

Two of the more popular aggregated providers are PayPal or more recently Stripe. With both providers you are required to provide the normal personal information for creating a bank account (proof of identity, etc.)

 

PayPal has a distinct advantage of both processing transactions and giving you the ability to pay out with the same account either from funds received or via linked credit cards.  Speaking of linked cards lets have a quick chat about digital wallets.

 

 

A quick note on Apple Pay & Google

googlepay_applepayYou can be forgiven for thinking that these providers fit into the categories above, however they offer a digital wallet facility for storing your real-world card details rather than a payment processor.  Your card details are secured, and transaction details passed to the vendors processor.   While you should offer the ability to your website visitors to pay using these methods you will still need a valid processor to link these to.

 

Watch out for charge back

For any real-world retailer the concept of chargeback may be all too familiar but if credit card management is new to you then you need to watch out for this.  All payment processors and card vendors insure the card holder against fraud.  This gives them the ability to dispute any card transaction within a six-month period.  Online purchases are particularly susceptible to this as it can be very difficult to prove the card owner was the recipient of the goods.  In short if a customer disputes, they can order the payment processor or merchant bank to withdraw funds from your account for the customer disputing the payment.  There is very little come back for the retailer in this scenario and they are rarely able to recover funds.  Unless…

3D Secure

3d-security

This is a scheme offered by most merchant bank accounts (not aggregated payment options) that allows the retailer to shift the liability for the charge backs from themselves to their bank.  I have seen this save tens of thousands for online retailers and it is seriously worth considering.  The down side is to qualify for 3D secure your checkout needs to allow your payment processor to bring your customer through additional security checks.  This can have a big impact on your conversion rate and you need to weigh up pros and cons carefully.

 

The short version

Hopefully the breakdown above will illuminate which option is right for you but if you are the type to skip to the end of the book let me give you a very quick summary.

Aggregated payment processors (like Stripe) are great for beginners or start-ups.  Fast and cheap to get going.  They get more expensive as you grow.

Dependent processors (like Realex) are more expensive but for large volumes of transactions they work out more competitive.  They also offer greater fraud protection.  If you have built a regular volume of orders on your site then dependent processor is the option for you.

professional Car Photography

Taking professional car images for your dealership.

The digital landscape of car dealerships has changed massively in the past ten years. Your car showroom is now online, laptops, phones and tablets are now the first port of call for the new & used car buyer.

 

The online marketplace is becoming increasingly competitive as car dealers are constantly upping their game to stand out from the competition and the standard of car imagery has suddenly gone through the roof. As a car dealer you now have to also take on the role of ‘car photographer’ and put out consistently slick and professional imagery because, let’s face it, if your image is shoddy they’ll be scrolling right on by.

 

Doing it yourself

So you have allocated the time resources and energy to shoot your own car imagery, here’s some tips to get the most out of your time.

Location, Location, Location:

Choose your location wisely. Most importantly the location of all car photos should remain the same. This ensures your cars look uniform and professional when browsing online. Shoot against a large clean wall or some kind of generic scene that won’t change week to week and doesn’t have any distractions in the background. Remember cars are like giant mirrors so any reflections of passers by or other cars will be picked up.

Equipment Needed:

Camera, Tripod, Ladder…Check

Invest in a decent camera that can be designated for the job ensuring photos are of high quality and look the same (switching cameras every time will produce different quality images). A tripod set up in the same place every-time means all cars and angles can be shot at the same height & distance. A ladder will allow you mix it up sometimes and get some interesting angles when the car calls for it!

Shoot Angles

Photograph the same set of angles for every car, ideally you should move the car not the camera so that the background is the same whether shooting the front or the back.  Any key features in the interior should also be shown off. Here’s a few examples that will give the customer a nice journey as they flick through your images.

front-l3_4

 

 

frontsidebackback-l3_4

 

These images were taken at Kevin Egan Cars using a purpose built turn table. Expensive but the results speak for themeselves.

Post Production

As much as it saves time to upload straight from your camera if you can run the photos through an editor and apply the same settings or filter every time it will really add that wow factor and keep photos looking consistent whatever the weather.

 

This free online tool allows you to quickly adjust the exposure or make the colours appear more accurate. You can even overlay your logo if you want to get really fancy!

https://www.befunky.com

For more info on editing images check out our blog A quick way to resize and crop imagery without buying photoshop.

 

Calling in the Professionals

Car photography is time consuming when done right. There are always guys out there to lend a hand and ease the burden. At Dmac Media we recommend Image Console.

 

Image Console work with Irish car dealerships on a regular basis. They can provide you with the training and equipment required to shoot great car imagery. Once you have great pics they will provide branded templates for your images and the platform to publish your images/videos on all required host sites.

 

Taking it to the next level.

Once you have the basics looking great consider shooting some video content to really engage the customer who wants to explore a car even further.

360 views are also fast becoming the leading way to give users an interactive and engaging tour of the car. Although expensive to set up they really take the experience to the next level. See example here.

If you want to know any of the above please don’t hesitate to contact us here at dmac media.