Shopping Locally Online key to competitive turnaround for Local Retailers

Local Enterprise Office announces €30,000 Trading Online Voucher Fund for local companies to improve their competitiveness with a free seminar as part of Enterprise Week to put companies on the path to improve competitiveness.

“We can’t ignore the fact that year on year online sales are increasing and Irish consumers in 2017 bought 7.4% more online than in 2016” said Carlow County Councils Senior Enterprise Development Officer, Anna Byrne who is encouraging local enterprises to bring their local business online so that consumers can shop locally online. Byrne explained that “we are not advocating the end of traditional bricks and mortar consumer experiences, we are basically stating that if local companies don’t go online to complement their off-line activity they will lose market share in an ever changing consumer market”.

The Local Enterprise Office with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment are offering online trading vouchers to local companies who want to enhance their offline experience by adding an online dimension for their business with vouchers up to €2,500 based on 50% of eligible costs.

As part of Enterprise Week, the Local Enterprise Office will host a briefing on the Trading Online Voucher scheme on 7th March, 2018 at the Seven Oaks Hotel, Athy Road, Carlow commencing at 9.30am. Speaking about the steps involved in developing an online presence, Pauline Hoctor, Business Advisor with the Local Enterprise Office says, “we advocate five steps which companies should consider in developing their online presence”.

“Stage one is finding the right service provider with relevant digital expertise to help grow your business ” Hoctor explains, “this is a common area where SME’s fall down in that they don’t invest the time in finding the right provider, who can offer a solution for their business with features that the company actually need” in order to combat this she explains “we would encourage companies to generate a specification of all the features required so that they are clear what their provider can and can’t provide”. Hoctor explains that “companies often struggle at this stage so apart from the briefing we can appoint a mentor to work one to one to help develop a brief”.

“Stage two is choosing a payment platform that works for your customers”, Hctor explains “your customers will decide how they part with their cash and if you can design a straightforward system it can increase your customer satisfaction”. In a US survey it was shown that 40% of customers will exit a shopping cart if the experience is too complex.

“Stage three is to ensure that you measure success by measuring online versus offline payments”, Hoctor explains that “too many companies don’t track where their sales are coming from and apart from the accountancy headaches it can cause, measurement will allow you to effectively place your resources for marketing and sales.


“Stage four is to consider that online will bring you into new markets and attract new customers to your business”, Hoctor explains that online opens up your business to customers around the globe and it’s important you tailor your experience to the market that you are selling in”, “also consider that this may include exporting and key things to consider when selling outside your borders include: website translation; localisation, secure payment methods; pricing that enables you to compete with local vendors, and transparency around currency exchanges and fees”

Finally stage five is connect your “online and offline shopping experiences”, “customers are expecting a seamless consistent shopping experience between offline and online. Try offering services like "buy online, pick-up in store" and "buy online, return in store" to create unique and engaging experiences for shoppers that also help drive sales. This strategy also enables you to make the most of your physical presence in a way that online-only platforms can't”.

If your business is interested in availing of a Trading Online Voucher the first step is to attend the briefing as part of Enterprise Week. To book a place e-mail or call 059 9129783


For further details contact

Anna Byrne on 059 9129785 or by email:

Pauline Hoctor on 059 9129784 or by email: