Searching for success in a sea of data
“Ireland is ranked high on the world index of ability to set up new businesses. However, a lot of what holds us back is the cost of labour and buildings such as rent and local authority rates. The beauty of internet-based businesses is you don’t have to worry about these and you can reach a larger audience too.”
Buckley says taking advantage of trends online will become a bigger and bigger business in years to come, as web-based businesses become more popular.
“Right now people go to the supermarket to do their shopping, but there is no reason for them not to do their shopping online, as they know what they want and delivery is free most of the time.
“They don’t, possibly due to habit and sociability, but this will probably change. The same goes for landlines. The younger generation all have mobile phones and don’t even consider getting landlines.”
Venture capitalist Brian Caulfield, a partner at private equity firm DFJ Esprit, makes it his business to look for new trends and understand market needs.
“We put a lot of time and effort into tracking what areas are trending. You have to be clued into the areas you invest in. I don’t know how someone can invest in social media if they are not on Twitter and Facebook.”
He believes analytics are “immensely important” for businesses to validate their proposition. “They say only half of advertising works, but you don’t know which half. Analytics helps you identify which half.”
ANALYTICS IN ACTION: RONAN O'BRIEN, FOUNDER AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE ZATORI RESULTS
SERIAL ENTREPRENEUR Ronan O’Brien has successfully capitalised on the popularity of online shopping by creating a number of e-retailing businesses around customer’s internet searches.
The chief executive of Zatori Results develops businesses off a simple concept. Identify what customers are searching for online, offer them those products and allow them to purchase there and then.
“We’re not trying to create demand for a particular product and we haven’t brought out any new products. We just see which markets are hot at the moment and capitalise on them,” he says.
O’Brien uses Google’s Keyword Tool and databases to identify what the public are searching for online, and what countries they are searching for those items in.
The simple model has proven to be fruitful for the Laois-based entrepreneur, who has launched 10 internet-based companies in the past five years. These include thecostumeshop.ie; thebikinishop.ie; Mollys.ie, an online retailer of pet products; themobilityshop.ie, which sells wheelchairs and mobility aids; and marineelectronics.eu, all under the Zatori umbrella. Last year, the business recorded a combined turnover in excess of €2 million.
O’Briens latest venture, BuyTrophies.ie, was launched earlier this year and supplies trophies and medals to schools, clubs and societies. The 29-year-old is now launching clothing.ie. Members of the public can buy a few items from the site, which will sell branded clothing by designers such as Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, try the items on and only keep the items which they like.