Retailers in Meath are urged to improve their capacity and online presence to exploit new opportunities to increase revenue, grow and sell internationally.
Damien English, Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, has launched a new round of the online retail program which supports ambitious Irish retailers looking to grow and improve their online sales and build their e-commerce capabilities.
The program provides direct financial support to retail businesses to develop a more competitive online business offering to complement their in-store offering. It is administered by Enterprise Ireland and €9.3 million is available in this round of funding.
“I want Ireland-based retailers to have every opportunity to compete for online sales that are currently taking place outside the country,” Minister English said as he launched the scheme.
“There is no reason Irish businesses cannot successfully compete for door-to-door sales as well as international sales. The government is also committed to helping more business owners improve their capabilities and online presence to exploit opportunities in existing and new markets.
“The shift to online shopping has accelerated over the past two years and consumer retail habits have changed significantly. Many now make purchases anytime, anywhere, at their fingertips or with the click of a mouse. It makes business sense to have an omnichannel approach to selling in order to meet these new demands and compete in the marketplace.
“Nearly all previous recipients of this program’s funding have noted an increase in online sales, with many in international markets and the vast majority hiring additional staff to manage their increased online sales.”
To be eligible for this funding, applying companies must have at least 10 full-time employees and an existing online presence. The salary costs of an internal project champion can be partially covered by this support. This person can be any employee who has management support to take on this responsibility and who will be working with an external service provider on the project.
Previous unsuccessful Online Retail Program applicants may reapply to this call with an amended proposal. Applicants who have been successful in previous calls are also eligible to reapply under this program cycle, once they propose a project that is clearly different from their previous applications.
Jenny Melia, Head of Technology and Services, Enterprise Ireland, said:
“There have been over 500 successful approvals under the online retail program. Companies that apply for financing make their business sustainable because they will be able to respond to several different buyers.
“We encourage applicants to show us clear goals for their digital projects, and we want them to demonstrate the impact these changes would have on their business. We also encourage applicant companies to appoint an internal project champion within their team, as this is an investment for them to build internal digital capabilities of employees. »
Minister English concluded: “The success of the program is evident in the wide range of retailers across the country who have received funding to date to make the digital transition. In the past, successful applicants have included retailers of jewelry, fashion, sports, housewares, furniture, healthcare, hardware, appliances and electrical equipment.
Navan Hire and Hardware successfully applied for an Online Retail Program grant in a previous call and Keith Donegan, Director of Navan Hire and Hardware, said:
“The online retail program helped Navan Hire & Hardware undertake a project and body of work on our digital offering which ultimately enabled us to expand and grow our business by reaching new customers and penetrating new new markets.
“These developments in our digital offer, made possible by the Online Retail Scheme, have enabled us to significantly increase our sales, improve our customer service and develop new work processes. This work has helped us to sustain our activity.
McKenna Man sells casual and formal menswear and has stores in the North East in Dundalk, Drogheda and Navan. McKenna Man successfully applied for an online retail program grant on a previous call and Conor McKenna, Principal of McKenna Man, said:
“The impact of the online retail system on the business has been very significant and overwhelmingly positive. McKenna Man, with the support of Enterprise Ireland, has built a strong digital presence and e-commerce offering, sales with online now being a very important part of our business model and overall revenue, we strongly encourage any company wishing to improve or expand their online presence to consider applying for this program.”
The online retail program is open for applications now and ends Wednesday, June 1, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. (noon). Find more information and how to apply at www.enterprise-ireland.com/retail.