Posts Tagged Business and Economy

Was 2010 the year for eCommerce? Will Irish retailers begin to smell the coffee?

Supermarket check out, London January 2005 Aut...
Image via Wikipedia

Over the Christmas you probably noticed a lot of retailers out on various news reports complaining about poor sales (as they like to at Christmas) and in most cases with great reason too. I personally still find it hard to believe how many of the retail outlets in Ireland are still in business. The double blow of the recession and the god awful snow that engulfed Ireland and the UK for nearly 3 weeks certainly didn’t do anything to help their falling sales. But, for many reasons, I just can’t bring myself to feeling 100% sorry for these retailers.

It’s not that I am a cynical and bitterly twisted man that makes me feel this way. And I am certainly not a hardcore socialist who would sticks two fingers up at all retailers and say “ha, you should have treated your staff better!”. No, I’m just someone who has worked in the Internet for over 10 years now and have seen so many Irish retailers ignore the great benefits a properly prepared online web strategy.

“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail” is the phrase mentioned by one Irish great that sticks out in my mind when I think of how Irish retailers have ignored such a valuable resource to their business.

In the UK, it’s been reported that 44% of their population upped their online spend this Christmas compared to 2009. The total amount spent online in the UK was £2.8bn !! Another interesting fact is that 86% of UK consumers logged on to the Internet on Christmas and St. Stephens day a 10% increase on the previous year. 62% of those consumers shopped for sale items over those two days!

John Lewis say that their online sales in the 5 weeks to January the first accounted for £500m. And I guess it’s no surprise that the leading retailers online (after Amazon & eBay) were Argos, Next and M&S.

When you see figures like this, it amazes me to think that Irish retail businesses still don’t take their online business serious enough.

Let’s take a list of Irish retailers and see how they compare with their UK counterparts…

Although it appears to be sitting on an eCommerce system, namingly Magento – there is no option to buy online. Maybe they need the footfall to generate some cross sells – but there are other ways of getting people into the store – and not many people were venturing out in the snow! They don’t seem to have a UK site (if they are even there!)
Much the same as Harvey Norman – display lots of products, but don’t allow you to buy (from what I can see). You can buy online from their websites in the UK.

River Island have a nice website and you can purchase online – albeit in sterling and not 100% sure if you can get it delivered to Ireland (or pick up in store!)

I don’t know about you, but if I could have bought items online through the Boots website I would have! Anyone who has ever tried to buy perfume through somewhere like Amazon knows that they simply won’t deliver to you. A golden opportunity for someone like Boots to make a few quid online. And can you imagine those great 3 for 2 offers… oh I wish… of course, you can do this online if you live in the UK.

A great Irish brand with, it must be said, a visually appealing website – but no you can’t buy online. A place I would have definitely bought online over the Christmas period as I desperately searched for 2 turkeys for Christmas Dinners!!

I could easily go on and on but I won’t…

There are of course some exceptions to what appears to be the rule. You will find some retailers with decent enough websites, but by on large they just don’t exist.

As usual, it tends to be the smaller, lesser known retailers that appear to take their online presence more serious in Ireland – but even those are far and few between. When we have a country next door to us spending nearly £3bn online at Christmas it seems ridiculous that there aren’t more retailers taking a serious look at trying to grab a piece of this with a proper online marketing strategy.

The Celtic Tiger as we know was really good for Ireland, but the current lack of interest in making a serious online effort to generate business is an indication of how well we actually had it. “Ah sure I don’t need to sell to online, sure there’s plenty of business already….”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


IEDR to give 10 SME’s a €10k Website Grant

.ie: Ireland's official Internet address
Image via Wikipedia

The Irish Domain registry, the IEDR have created a €100,000 fund to help boost SME e-commerce. The idea of the fund will be to identify 10 SME’s who can take advantage of a €10,000 grant to to build an eCommerce website to help grow their business online. In an age where online buying continues to grow significantly, only 21% of Irish companies with websites have the ability to handle transactions online.

I’m personally delighted to see this incentive from the IEDR and it’s something that the government really should take note of. This incentive by the IEDR will help 10 businesses start to trade online and see the true potential that the web can bring their business.

I don’t say it often about the IEDR, but “Well Done” on this one – great idea!

As of now, I’m not sure how one goes about being included in the process for being selected, but when I find out I’ll post it here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

Free Business Advice Hub in North Dublin

The Get Ireland Working Team ( who have run 9 successful advice hub meetings since the start of the pilot program (1st July 2010) in the Kilbarrack Social Welfare Local Office catchment area are running another Free Business Advice Hub on the 28th of September. The event which will be held at Suttonians Rugby Football Club at 8pm, is open to any new or small business.

The Get Ireland Working Team have got together with a number of successful business people who have volunteered to share their experience with you for free. They are available to help you build your business start-up idea or existing business.

For more information contact

Tags: , , ,

No Comments

1850 & 1890 numbers, your number is up!

An old telephone.
Image via Wikipedia

There have been many discussions over the past couple of years about the value of 1890 and 1850 numbers to general public. In the past, when ringing someone outside your area code cost you an arm and a leg, these numbers were of true benefit to both the owner of the phone number and of course the person ringing the phone number.

From a business perspective, offering your potential customers the ability to ring you at local (or lower) call rates was a great and effective marketing ploy. To the customer, you were safe in the knowledge that a call to the said company would not result in a massive phone bill for something that was possibly a small matter.

However nowadays, 1890 and 1850 seem to be nothing but a scam with no more intentions than filling the telecoms operators coffers with vasts amount of money. There isn’t a telecoms company in Ireland today that don’t offer free national calls as part of their home phone packages. Therefore calling 1890 & 1850 numbers should be free right? Wrong….

Even though the number you are dialing may terminate at a local number, you will still be charged the rates associated with calling a 1890 or 1850 number. Whereas, if they had provided you with a landline number, it wouldn’t have cost you a penny.

It’s fair to say that most people aren’t aware of this fact, until of course they receive their monthly itemised bill that states this. For that reason many businesses will continue to promote their 1850 & 1890 numbers as it has the appearance of being a cheap way to contact them. It also removes “location” as an issue. If people don’t see the area code, they will just assume that the company is local.

The reality is that we should be pushing for these numbers to be stopped. The only people making money from them are the telecoms providers and I would hazard a guess that it’s quite substantial.

So if you are a business and want to save your customers some money, why not ditch the 1890 or 1850 number and start promoting your landline number again. If you are someone who rings these numbers, why not stop and starting seeking the landline numbers of the companies you are trying to contact?

There is a list of popular establishments landline numbers on this thread… – it may come in handy some time!

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Car leasing in Ireland

I was reading (and getting involved in) a very interesting thread on over the weekend. Initially the thread started as a “how much does it cost to build a website”, but it quickly evolved into a very interesting topic on what is required to get the best from a website. Someone happened to mention – which is a highly successful car leasing web site in the UK.

I was delighted when Ling, the lady who set up decided to join in on the conversation. Ling is probably best known for her appearance on the original Dragon’s Den TV series. She failed in her bid to get the Dragon’s to invest £50,000 in her Car Leasing business, but has roared to success in the past two years since her appearance on the show.

Her eye impairing (:P) website turns over more than £35 million a year in car leasing deals. It’s a true testament to how a great idea, a terrible looking website, with lots of traffic and constant customer engagement can be really successful on the Internet. Myself and Ling it seems will never agree on how she could improve conversions, but I have to admit that I really enjoyed the conversation with her.

Anyway, I’ve kind of gone of the topic here…

The whole thread made me think a little about the Irish and what makes us tick. Why do we insist on BUYING everything that costs more than a few thousand euro? What is it that makes us think that we must OWN our homes and cars. A lot would suggest that owning our homes relates back to the years of oppression suffered at the hands of the British, but surely that psyche hasn’t passed to owning cars too; or has it?

Car leasing has never caught on in Ireland, even though in many other countries (in particular the US) it is the norm. How many people actually know that their local garage even offer such leasing deals on cars – or do they just think, “if I want it, I have to buy it”.

There are many pro’s and con’s to leasing cars – but in todays world, with the recession still firmly gripped to the Irish economy’s throat, surely this is an option for many people who can no longer get the loan they could have in the past from the banks?

Have you ever considered leasing? And if not, why not?

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,