We sat down with two industry experts at the recent UCD business breakfast: Louise Phelan Vice-President of PayPal, and Keith Jordan CEO and Founder of iTagged to get their views on how small businesses can get an edge on their rivals online and what the future looks like for them.
Louise Phelan, PayPal
What are the major benefits of having a website with e-commerce functionality?
It’s a no-brainer. You need to make sure you have e-commerce because people want the convenience to be able to pick, pay for and ship your product with a swipe of the finger.
For businesses who have already made the jump online, what is the next step?
They need to use the likes of PayPal. We have 200million active users so this is a great opportunity for them to use our base to be global and to appropriate right around the world so that they get access to more customers.
What other advise do you have to SMEs to help grow their online presence?
You have got to make sure that your website is mobile optimised. You can’t be expected to pinch a website designed for desktop anymore. SMEs also have to be focused on making sure that when you search for their product they appear at the top of the Google search results page. It’s critical that their page isn’t buried further down.
So why do you think convenience is so important from a customer’s perspective?
The lines are being constantly blurred between online and offline and lots of people don’t have the time to be able to shop like they could before. Having access to a mobile phone on a bus or train to work means that you can actually buy a product and everything including the payment and shipping should be seamless.
Finally what do you think the future is for businesses from a payment perspective?
I would say for PayPal, it is cashless, it has to be cashless. People want convenience. People used to say that cash is king, it is no longer king, convenience is king.
Keith Jordan, iTagged
Why is peer to peer marketing so powerful and how will it help SMEs achieve their marketing goals?
Peer to peer marketing is so powerful because it touches on how we as humans interact with each other. Traditional marketing TV, Radio and outdoor is very much a shotgun approach. They would fire it off and hope that message lands with a cohort or with a specific group of people. However, communications have moved on to the likes of Twitter and Facebook where you can have a two-way conversation which is what customers want.
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