A national campaign launched today, ‘Getting Irish Business Online’, is allowing businesses with no web presence to set up a site for free in less than 30 minutes.
A partnership between Google, Blacknight Internet Solutions, An Post and the County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs), Getting Irish Business Online is targeting the 40pc of Irish SMEs, including sole traders that do not have a website or an online presence.
Google research shows more than three-quarters of Irish customers use the internet as their primary tool for researching new companies and products, and 68pc believe that search engines help to find relevant sellers of products.
But, with only 21pc of Irish businesses e-commerce enabled, Ireland is effectively losing revenues to UK and US online businesses.
Common barriers to setting up a website
Google’s research also found that common barriers to setting up online are a lack of skills, perceived high costs and time restrictions. Many businesses surveyed think the average cost to set up a website is €1,000 whereas the campaign launched today will provide a website for free and it will be quick to set up and easy to use.
The campaign will also provide online training materials and further training via seminars held by the CEBs.
“There is a huge opportunity for Irish businesses which they are failing to grasp. An online presence gives the potential to increase sales and revenues not just locally but internationally and helps to build stronger, more sustainable businesses that will ultimately benefit local, regional and the national economies,” said Ronan Harris, director of online sales, Google.
“Irish consumers spend almost 20 hours per week online and with millions of people in Ireland shopping online there is a significant marketplace for Irish SMEs to exploit. Today we are hopefully seeing the start of a national movement which will gather momentum and bring every sole trader, micro enterprise and SME online.”
How the campaign works
Blacknight Solutions will provide participants with a free website, and hosting with a .ie, .eu or .com domain name which is free for one year from the setup of their website. Google will also provide a trial of online advertising with a coupon worth €100.
An Post is supporting integration of a postage calculator into a full e-commerce solution, launching 1 June, and it will provide promotional offers, support and advice to businesses who sell online and have developed their websites through Getting Irish Business Online.
Liam Walsh of AAC Services, one of the first companies to set up his business online via the Getting Irish Business Online tool, said: “I always thought it would be too expensive and time consuming to set up a website so I couldn’t believe how quick and easy it was to set up. Having an online presence means that if someone searches for plumbing or heating services my business can now be found online, which is great.”