Retailers. 70pc of whom are outside Dublin, will receive funding via the scheme which aims to drive Irish retailers’ online sales at home and abroad.

145 retailers have been approved €5.3m in funding as part of Irish Government’s Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme, which is administered by Enterprise Ireland.

The scheme is targeted at retailers who already have an online presence to strengthen their online offering and enable them to reach a wider customer base.

“We know that consumers are keen to support their local retailers, even when shopping online, and these grants will help businesses to really maximise the opportunities in the e-commerce market”

The scheme, which was announced in the Government’s July Jobs Stimulus package, received 204 applications. 70pc of the successful applicants are located outside Dublin with 102 retailers from these regions approved for funding.

Under this Covid-19 competitive call, the successful applicants will receive funding ranging from €16,000 to €40,000 to strengthen their online offering. The average grant value is €36,700 and covers up to 80pc of project costs.

The time to go digital is now

“The economic value of operating in the e-commerce space and its convenience for customers has come to the fore in 2020 and this scheme aims to help companies improve and maximise digital sales prospects,” said Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Damien English, TD.

“We know that consumers are keen to support their local retailers, even when shopping online, and these grants will help businesses to really maximise the opportunities in the e-commerce market. Of course, this market is not limited by geography and physical location and we know that Irish businesses with strong online resources also have their eyes on the international marketplace.”

The Online Retail Scheme was open to Irish-owned retailers with a physical store and a pre-existing online presence who employ 10 or more people.  In addition, the scheme focuses on retailers predominantly selling products to individual consumers as opposed to those selling mainly to business customers. Grants can be used to fund fees for service providers, develop and implement a digital strategy supported by in-house training and enhance the retailer’s website.

The scheme is complementary to the €2,500 Trading Online Vouchers, provided through the Local Enterprise Offices for companies with up to 10 employees.

“The Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme has proven to be a very attractive scheme for retailers and it’s clear that Irish businesses are keenly aware of the growing e-commerce opportunities both at home and abroad for online retail. They also understand the necessity of operating an updated and efficient online sales platform that complements their physical stores.

“Grants through this scheme are being used by retailers to upgrade their systems to improve their digital presence and to become more competitive in the virtual marketplace. This is helping to broaden their customer base and grow sales with some companies reporting that they are recruiting extra staff as result.

Ultimately, retailers who are investing in their online presence now are also strengthening their offering to help deal with the uncertainty and challenges that lie ahead.”

“Enterprise Ireland will be opening a new call under the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme in early 2021.

The 145 retailers awarded funding, operate across a broad spectrum of sectors including healthcare, jewellery, fashion, sports, homeware and furniture, electrical goods and equipment.

“Our customers are spending an increased amount of time online, so the digital landscape is becoming an ever more important channel for us.” Conor Moran, Online Marketing manager, The 1933 Furniture Company commented.

“We believe that the grant support will offer us the opportunity to create a new online platform that complements and integrates with our existing business model.”

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 10 November, 2020

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