Bord Bia and Google team up to boost online presence of Irish food
Bord Bia and Google launch ‘Digital Food Hub' - a new training programme for the Irish food industry
24 April 2014
A new digital training programme has been launched to help Irish food businesses manage their online presence and sales.
Bord Bia and Google Ireland have collaborated to create a ‘Digital Food Hub’ – a training scheme specifically tailored for the Irish food industry.
21 companies chosen
Having completed an application process, 21 Irish food companies have been selected to participate in the inaugural seven month programme, which will include workshops, training modules and one-to-one mentoring delivered by Google digital experts at its European headquarters in Dublin.
The companies, representing dairy, meat, confectionery and chilled food sectors, range from large multinational players such as Kerry Foods and Cuisine de France to new businesses such as The Little Milk Company and Elivar.
According to Bord Bia’s Tomorrow’s Shopper research the number of Irish consumers buying online continues to grow, with 94% of shoppers in Ireland purchasing online. Mobile and social commerce are showing significant growth, facilitated by portable, handheld devices and speedier networks. By 2015, nine out of ten consumers in Ireland will own a smartphone, with tablet ownership projected to reach 50%.
Significant opportunity for digital development
The study found that many consumers are using these devices to research products and services before they buy – some 82% of those surveyed had completed pre-purchase research on their smartphone. In addition, the use of social networks, such as Facebook, for purchasing goods and services represents a significant opportunity for companies. According to Gartner, over 50% of all internet sales globally will take place via social media by 2015.
The Digital Food Hub programme will address barriers to successfully doing business online. The curriculum will include modules on website design, Google AdWords, tracking and measuring online sales via Google Analytics, online brand building and identifying export opportunities.
Food companies need further guidance
The programme was based on the results of a Bord Bia study carried out last year with 12 Irish food companies. This found that while Irish food companies had taken some initial basic steps to develop their online trade, they required further guidance in terms of technology infrastructure, best practice case studies and training on how to build and develop in-house expertise.
According to Ruth McEntee, industry manager, Google: "With online sales of Irish groceries at just 1.3%, there is significant room for growth in terms of meeting current consumer demands and those of an upcoming generation who will shop online as default."
Bord Bia said the demand for the ‘Digital Food Hub’ programme was "extremely high" and that a second programme is already in planning for January 2015.
Irish sales going to overseas sites
In overall terms, European online sales are expected to double to €323 billion by 2018. Irish online sales are expected to account for €11.5 billion of that total figure. Currently 73% of all money spent online in Ireland goes to overseas sites and 50% of all Irish retailers are not trading online. This represents a substantial growth opportunity for Ireland’s digital economy, which is already growing at 10 times the rate of the rest of the economy.*
*(Sources: EEI Online Trading Report July 2013, National Digital Strategy 2013)