In Ireland, €4bn of the total €35bn spent on retail goes to online retailers, but not necessarily those based in Ireland. This figure is predicted to grow to €11.3bn over the next four years, and, with this in mind, two new initiatives have been established to help Irish retailers maximise their opportunities online.
Sage Pay roadshow
Payment processor Sage Pay will bring speakers to Cork on 28 May and Dublin on 30 May to demonstrate how start-ups and SMEs can develop a successful e-commerce business. The events will discuss best practice in e-commerce, focusing on digital marketing, website optimisation and the rise of mobile commerce (m-commerce).
These Sage Pay events are free to attend and are supported by the Irish Internet Association (IIA).
“The challenge is not in convincing retailers to develop an e-commerce proposition but rather in enabling them with the skills and knowledge to execute it,” explained IIA CEO Joan Mulvihill.
eTail Excellence Ireland
Retail Excellence Ireland, Ireland’s largest retail industry trade body with a membership of more than 1,000 retailers, has launched a new digital division under the name eTail Excellence Ireland (EEI).
EEI intends to provide a voice for online retailers in Ireland and to help shape the landscape and take advantage of the opportunities presented by consumers researching purchases and shopping online. In Europe, the online market is expected to reach €400bn soon and EEI wants to see some of that money being spent within the Irish economy by bringing about fundamental changes in the way we conduct business online.
“We need to recognise that consumer needs and expectations are evolving at a massive pace,” said EEI head Sheila Buckley. “Consumers expect to find products and services online, both web and mobile. If businesses don’t have a digital presence they will miss the opportunity to serve existing customers and acquire new customers.”
An EEI committee has been formed with representatives from Littlewoods Ireland, Mothercare, O2 Telefónica, Google, Glanbia, Horkan’s Garden Centres and O’Briens Wine, Beer & Spirits. “A key objective is to ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place to allow online sales for Irish retailers to flourish in both the domestic and international markets,” said Littlewoods Ireland commercial director and EEI committee chair Geoff Scully.
Earlier this year, the IE Domain Registry (IEDR) was seeking applicants for its €150,000 e-commerce OPTIMISE fund and the Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton, TD, revealed his plan to get a further 2,000 firms trading online: a €2,500 Business Online Voucher.
The need to encourage more Irish businesses to trade online was also addressed at the recent Digital Ireland Forum at the Convention Centre Dublin.