People living in Ireland spend €8.5 million a day online on goods from retailers in other countries. New figures show that many Irish retailers and SMEs are missing out on the increasing amounts of money people spend online.
Over €4 billion goes to online retailers in other countries
43% of Irish consumers bought something online last year, while 2.6 million people in Ireland regularly shop online.
€4.1bn was spent on online shopping in Ireland in 2012, up from €2.96bn the previous year. However, 75% of these purchases went through companies outside Ireland. In other words, €98 per second leaves the Irish economy*.
Ireland needs to get selling online
With all this cash flowing out of Ireland, at a time when the independent Irish retail sector is in a perilous place, lobby groups like eMark are being established.
eMark aims to be a national symbol for Irish-owned and operated e-commerce sites. It says it wants to make consumers aware of Irish-owned and operated businesses online, and give shoppers the choice to choose an Irish retailer if they would prefer to do so.
Online retail market set to grow to €21 billion by 2017
“The online retail market is set to grow to €21 billion by 2017, there has never been a more crucial time for Irish retailers to act and win back market share from international online retailers that are dominating this space,” says Michael McCormack of eMark.
Ireland needs better online retail stores
Another organisation, eCommerce Ireland, is also campaigning to encourage Irish consumers to use Irish-based online stores. “75% of the revenue spent by Irish consumers online leaves the country. Every single percent we can pull back would result in a €40 million boost to the local economy and ensure that more Irish-based online stores can survive, grow and create employment,” says Colm Griffin of eCommerce Ireland.
Ireland needs more of its retailers to go online and start selling, but more than that, these retailers need advice on how to get online, start selling and how to market and grow. See here for more details.
eCommerce Ireland compiles a list of Irish online stores that is updated regularly. Any business that wishes to be listed can go here.
How to set up shop online – the first steps to take
There are a number of supports available to SMEs to start selling online.
The Irish Government is keen to see more Irish businesses with online stores. Currently 23% of all SMEs in Ireland trade online, but there is plenty of room for improvement. The current National Digital Strategy aims to get a further 2,000 businesses trading online by the end of 2015.
SMEs in Ireland can apply for an online trading voucher. This voucher is worth €2,500 and is to help SMEs establish an online trading presence. Go here for more details.
There are also over 80 different Government supports for Irish SMEs and start-ups. You can view the full list here.
Setting up an online store is not as complicated as setting up a brick and mortar store — not by a long shot — but it’s still a commitment; one you should take seriously.
“One of the biggest opportunities with doing business online versus a physical location is that your market is immediately global and therefore a lot bigger. The cost for setting up and building your online presence is often smaller than a physical store. So with a way bigger market and smaller costs, offering services online is a good value proposition,” says Owen Cooney, MD of ProductFitter, an Irish web development firm that specialises in developing ecommerce platforms.
For more information on cross-platform online retail solutions, go here.