Irish companies will succeed with e-commerce

Irish companies are lagging behind and losing massive market share to their UK  and US counterparts according to research by the .ie Domain Registry (IEDR ).

The research revealed only 66 per cent of Irish companies have an online presence, with just 21 per cent of them capable of handling e-commerce transactions.

In a market where there is an increasing trend for discounted designer goods and technology, potential customers are being lost to online stores.

With so many online stores offering deals and discounts, many of which are only available online, traditional shops are suffering. Without the high costs of running a retail business, e-commerce companies are thriving, but at the expense of those not already online.

Visa Europe has valued the Irish e-commerce market at €356m. This is the total spend on the internet whether to indigenous or foreign companies. The figure suggests that there is a lot of market share

that Irish companies can potentially claw back through e-commerce by positioning themselves online.

Ruairi Browne, director of Kro.ie, the industry leader in e-commerce development, said that the increase in customers looking for e-commerce websites and add-ons to their existing sites this year has

been outstanding: “At Kro.ie we have been creating custom websites and software for many years, but in the last year there has been a real boom in e-commerce sites”.

Mr Browne puts a lot of this down to the continued depression in the retail sector: “Companies that come to us are looking for a way out of the recession, to expand their business, or to increase revenue streams. There is a lot of talk about high rents and rates forcing companies to fold, and one or two that have come to us have completely transformed their business from retail to completely online”.

Not only are companies looking at a low cost addition to their existing business, but marketing and advertising costs are relatively low. Browne says the cost of out-sourcing digital marketing is

affordable by even the smallest companies, and manageable in-house by most: “Commitment is the main factor relating to an online business”, he said. “If you are committed to spending time online pushing your

business through different forms of social and digital marketing you will make a success of it. The addition of an online marketing expert comes fairly cheaply and can allow you to concentrate on your main

business while the online business builds itself”.

The gains to be made by expanding to e-commerce are unlimited according to Browne: “By opening your doors to the world via the internet you are offering your products, unique or otherwise to an endless number of potential customers from health and beauty products to financial services, there is a market for everything online”.

The internet has seen a constant rise in e-commerce business over the last 10 years with growth in every sector. While the giants like Amazon and eBay continue to expand, a demand remains for niche markets

and products.

Online training, education, and coaching is growing rapidly with more traditional services like sports coaching, and nutritionists even taking advantage of technology and communicating with clients from

afar.

According to Mr Browne: “If Ireland is to kickstart the economy and fast-track the recession we must all look to e-commerce”.

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