I want to sell online, but I don’t have digital skills; how do I start?

By: November 30, 2020
i dont have computer skills but i want to start selling online

So you have decided to set up shop online or strengthen your e-commerce offering. What are the first steps? Lorcan Kinsella, a digital strategist and founder of Brand Nova Digital offers his advice.

There are many ways to sell online, knowing which option to chose is often half the battle. Due to COVID-19, e-commerce in Ireland is booming. DPD says online shopping deliveries have doubled in 2020 compared to 2019.

According to 2020 figures from the CSO, there are 248,344 small-medium enterprises in Ireland but only 32pc can take an online sale.

It’s time more Irish retail businesses started selling online. So how does someone with little or no digital skills begin? Questions and answers below.

I want to set up shop online, but understand it can be difficult. What are the main pain points common to most e-commerce ventures?
1. Understanding or having information where you can see where your e-commerce store is performing on the search engines. Are you being found?
2. Are you converting traffic from SEO, social media and paid traffic into sales?
3. Fulfilment and logistics – do you provide appropriate packaging and supply terms that are covered within the cost and expectation of the buyer?
4. A total solution, where you can customise your e-commerce platform by using an easy to use CMS administration panel and updating simple things like items at a reduced cost 25% off.

What supports, if any, are available for SMEs and startups in this space?
Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) provide a range of financial supports designed to assist with the establishment and growth of enterprises (limited company, individuals/sole trader, cooperatives and partnerships) employing up to ten people. These include: Feasibility Study Grants and Priming Grants.

Lorcan, can you give examples of some Irish retailers who made the jump and did well?
1. Waterford-based Ardkeen Quality Food Store serves quality, artisan and locally-produced Irish produce in-store and online, delivering nationwide, and building upon 48 years of heritage.

2. Among the many restaurants that used the internet smartly to keep business flowing is Cork-based Burgerhut, which will fry up a burger of your choice and deliver it directly to your front door within an hour or you can collect it within 15 to 25 minutes.

3. A digital pharmacy service called Healthwave has developed a Carebot digital assistant that helps indicate if you need a test for Covid-19. Healthwave’s CareBot is a virtual assistant that uses AI and natural language processing to process prescription orders and other health-related queries. The CareBot also features an online assessment tool that will indicate whether the user is eligible for COVID-19 testing, thereby reducing calls to GPs. The new Covid-19 feature could also be implemented in GP surgeries that want to prioritise phone calls.

5. Founded over 14 years ago by Anne Mullin and Gerry Fitzsimons to sell wine online, Wineonline.ie has established a loyal following by bringing a world of wine to the doorsteps of Ireland. They claim to offer great value by cutting out the middleman and use their expertise and knowledge combined with their love of wine to educate and delight.

How difficult (or easy) is it to market your venture once you are set up?
Nova360 provides a platform where you can plug in your e-commerce store. Here you will know exactly how your website is doing in terms of on-page optimisation, off-page optimisation, page speed, competitor report, Google Analytics integration. We will also provide a one-on-one demo to show you around the platform and how to plug in your business. It will set your marketing up, and you can start making sales.

What’s your view on Facebook – setting up shop on Facebook or Instagram?
If you have limited resources, it can serve as a great entry point to market.

What digital skills are important for business owners to know?
Search Engine Optimisation, Google Analytics, Competitor Research, Facebook Ads and website UI/UX.

Lorcan KinsellaLorcan Kinsella is a sought after digital marketing strategist, having worked with some of the biggest names in information marketing while working with the Launchmen. He is the founder of Brand Nova Digital, a digital marketing agency, specialising in UI/UX website design, search engine optimisation, social media management, pay per click advertising, hosting and maintenance. Through Brand Nova Digital, Lorcan partners with Irish businesses to build and fix websites, design and implement growth strategies, and gain better visibility into their performance.