Changes in consumer habits and recent world events are just some of the factors that have contributed to forever changing the face of retail.
n the last few years, ambitious retailers of all sizes across the country have discovered the far-reaching opportunities that exist in the e-commerce space, with the opportunity to compete for international sales.
Companies that already had an online presence are seizing the opportunity to enhance their digital offerings and capabilities to expand, increase sales both domestically and internationally, and reach new markets.
Smaller, independent brick-and-mortar stores are now also seizing the opportunity to compete for sales against global giants.
Retail in Ireland is a crucial part of our economy.
The sector is actually our largest indigenous industry, employing over 300,000 people and accounting for 23% of state tax revenue, representing up to €7 billion in taxes for the state.
This hugely important sector plays a crucial role in stimulating local economies, maintaining employment and supporting lively and vibrant communities across Ireland.
For ambitious retail businesses, selling online represents a significant opportunity to potentially open up to an international customer base.
Enterprise Ireland is committed to increasing the ability of Irish businesses to increase their export sales, so we are keen to help retailers build their online capacity and tap into the global marketplace. In addition to opening up new marketing channels and driving sales, an online presence can also increase brand awareness and loyalty among customers.
The Online Retail Scheme, which is managed by Enterprise Ireland, provides direct financial support to retail businesses to develop a more competitive online retail offering to complement their in-store offering and increase sales internationally.
One Irish company that successfully took advantage of the scheme, and is now enjoying increased business as a result, is Navan Hire and Hardware, as Keith Donegan explains: “The online retail scheme has supported Navan Hire and Hardware. to carry out a project and body of work on our digital offering, which ultimately allowed us to expand and grow our business by reaching new customers and entering new markets.
“These updates to our digital offering, made possible by the Online Retail Scheme, have helped us significantly increase sales, improve our customer service and develop new work processes. This work has helped us prepare our business for the future.”
The Minister of State for Enterprise, Employment and Trade, Damien English TD, opened a new round of the plan this week, and there is €9.3 million available in this round of funding.
This call is open to both new applicants and those who have already accepted the program. Previously, businesses were only allowed two approvals in a three-year period, but this time, to help repeat applicants continue their successful eCommerce journey, those limits have been removed.
In addition, this time the focus is on building digital capability, with a higher weight in scoring evaluation for an internal champion, to encourage internal skills development so the company can update and improve its site internally without having to pay. for additional services. experience when the site requires changes.
The Online Retail Scheme is open to all Irish-owned retail businesses with both a physical and online presence.
Applicants must also have 10 or more full-time employees and the potential to maintain or create jobs, generate growth in online transactions, and want to grow their business internationally.
This round of the scheme aims to help retailers improve their digital capability, with the aim of increasing their customer base and building a more resilient business in the domestic and global market, both online and offline.
Application is easy and available online at enterprise-ireland.com/retail.
Now is the time to extend your retail business to an international audience and the limitless opportunity that online selling can bring.
Anna-Marie Turley is Department Manager for Retail, Consumer and Online at Enterprise Ireland