E-Commerce Solutions – How to grow your business online: Our CEO Paul Montwill features on Guaranteed Irish Webinar Series

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Our CEO Paul Montwill recently was invited to join a  panel of industry leaders organized and hosted by Guaranteed Irish CEO Brid O’Connell, in a discussion around E-commerce solutions, how to grow your business online and the dos and don’ts when trading online.

We are very grateful for the opportunity to share our knowledge and expertise to those considering embarking on an ecommerce journey and with retailers with existing e-commerce websites.

Irish retailers are continuing to adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic and the so-called ‘new normal’, Magico has experienced unprecedented demand from retailers who operated primarily offline, looking to adopt a digital approach to enable them to continue to trading outside of their physical premises. One of the many advantages to having an online business is the ability to adapt and change quickly. With COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic continuing to alter how we live our lives; online businesses have been quick to tweak their operations to reflect our new situation.

The following are some of the main topics of discussion between Paul and Brid from the webinar

During the COVID-19 lock down, how have abcommerce clients managed to grow their business online and increase their conversion rate. What has been the secret of their success?

We have been implementing eCommerce for over 20 years for Irish clients in all industries, both in business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B), and we have never witnessed such a seismic shift in online sales.

abcommerce clients experienced on average 400% increase in March, by April & May their average sales increased by 500% on previous years revenues. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic our average retailers were doing 20% of their business online. By having an online presence throughout the lockdown, and with this increasing by 500%, many were able to achieve similar levels of total revenue. It has enabled our retailers to continue trading online and exclusively online for this period allowing them to ‘weather the storm’ and maintain previous year’s revenues.

During the lockdown, our clients that offered international shipping switched this off due to restrictions on shipping and offered shipping exclusively to UK & Ireland. This means that the increases in sales came predominantly from the Irish customer which was great news not only for the retailer but also to the Irish exchequer. The Exchequer figures were buoyed in May by an extra €1 billion in VAT than it had not planned for. One of the reasons for this is that a lot of the online shopping was conducted on Irish websites. We found that Irish consumers were generally surprised on how easy it was to shop online with many retailers’ offline customers moving to the online channel and with many making the decision to permanently shop online.

There is much emphasis on the customer journey through their online experience. There is still tremendous focus required on customer service and ensuring a positive experience for customers. Initially there is a high cost involved in acquiring the customer usually between 15-20% through a mix of Paid Advertising avenues including Google AdWords and shopping campaigns, and social media campaigns. Once the retailer has acquired the customer, it is essential that they experience exceptional customer service at every touch point from speedy shipping to prompt responses to enquires.  All of this will ensure retention of these valuable customers. You would expect the average customer return between 4 – 12 times per year. When these customers return, they return for free. Our clients would experience 25-30% growth in online sales per year using this technique.

Do you feel that there is still a demand for physical stores or has the shift to online diminished to need to offer an instore experience?

There is still need and demand for physical stores and since the reopening of stores in June we have seen increases in online sales decrease to 100% – 200% based on revenues in July 2019. By continuing to offer an instore experience alongside their online customer experience is has secured their businesses. Our retails would have experienced up to now a 20% / 80% split in online VS. offline sales however, after Covid 19 is completed, we are expecting their split will be 40% / 60% in online VS. offline sales – or maybe 50% / 50%.

How do you expect online sales to preform for the final quarter of 2020?

Retailers are preparing for another surge in online sales. Throughout the festive period online sales increase by around 300%. Considering the ever-looming threat of a second wave of COVID-19 and the increases in revenues experienced during the lockdown period March – June, potential increases in sales could be as high as 1,200%. So, ensuring you have an online presence in preparation for this busy period will be essential to many retailers.

What are the costs and lead times involved in getting your business online?

It is important for retailers to note that there are risks involved with going online. It can be quite costly to do it correctly – and quite often we find when retailers have opted for a cheaper solution, their website may end up being unusable and in some cases, not have the ability to cope with a surge in sales on the site. The most important advice I can give is to select an off the shelf eCommerce platform and do not custom build a website as custom builds can take months. And go with an agency that have done many other websites on that off the shelf platform and those websites are of a high quality. If we are to consider the abcommerce platform the average lead time of a project is between 4 – 12 weeks, this largely depends on your product catalogue and the volume of products that you hope to offer online initially, lead time is closer to 4 weeks for 100 – 500 products and closer to 12 weeks for 1,000+ products and if you wish to have full systems integration with your backend EPOS/ERP provider.

Establishing an eCommerce store can be overwhelming for many retailers but it is fast becoming a necessity.  If you would like to learn more about the many features and benefits of the abcommerce platform and how it can support you and your businesses growth plans click here or contact a member of the team here.

Click here to listen to the Guaranteed Irish Webinar Series on E-Commerce Solutions.

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Since 1974, Guaranteed Irish has been championing businesses in Ireland, their core ethos is we are #AllTogetherBetter. The Guaranteed Irish symbol helps consumers and businesses to identify products and services that are #AllTogetherBetter choices for communities across Ireland. They award the symbol to companies which provide quality jobs, support local communities, and are committed to Irish provenance. Guaranteed Irish membership is open to both homegrown and international companies in Ireland, across all sectors. More about Guaranteed Irish here.

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