Growing Small Businesses Through Online Trading

With the trend ever increasing towards online spending it is estimated that only 23% of small Irish businesses are engaged in any meaningful way in eCommerce sales. Research has shown that small Irish businesses which trade online normally experience 85% in customer enquiries with 21% increase in sales and the average number of new jobs is 1.4 per business. Many companies through online trading enter new markets and exports can reach up to 40%.

Case Studies

Creva International

Founded in 2011 by Noel Kelly, Creva International works in partnership with the farmer, the distributor and the product. Based in Athenry, it is a facilitator in B2B relationships who represent the best agri-product manufacturers in the world-helping their client companies grow through telling their stories globally. Creva successfully availed of a Trading Online Voucher and overhauled their original website which was previously a brochure website holding only information on their products. The company had grown internationally and needed its website to reflect this growth as well as provide support to a growing global list of customers. With a dispersed network of distributors around the world, Creva added in an interactive map of their distribution network around the world to help demonstrate to existing and potential customers as to where distributors are based and they can also see how the company is working.

Although Crevas business model is B2B, the website provides greater transparency for the end user who can log on to site and choose a factory and show a distributor their products. There is a wealth of information about the product knowledge base on the new website and distributors can save themselves a lot of time by carrying out research on the site. The site also has a clever feature which allows customers estimate how many items they can fit into a shipping container.

Holding Their Own in Difficult Times

Overall there is improved layout for the customers and with the addition of a video on the home page, visitors visiting the site for the first time can learn a huge amount about Creva. Noel added

while it is difficult to measure benefits from the website, and considering the dairy market is in a difficult place, Creva is still doing well in this difficult economy and we believe that this is partially attributable to the website”.

Creva are also happy to report that they have hired one new employee, have started trading in the Middle East and are currently making inroads to the Russian market place.

Cregal Art

Established in 1963, Cregal Art Limited is a 100% Irish owned wholesale and retail company for art, crafts, design and framing, based in Galway city. Prior to availing of the Trading Online Voucher, Cregal Art had a standard ecommerce website focused at private customers. The move to the new website ensured they became relevant to educational establishments in Ireland. In the past number of years the government imposed a sanction which means that schools now need to have quotes prepared in advance to purchase school materials. This migration from catering to individuals needs to facilitating how schools now have to buy, has made the process much easier for schools and has greatly increased the amount of new sales and customers for Cregal Art. Once a school has created a quotation request, the website can convert the quote into an order.

Making Life Easier for the Customer

Cregal Art also introduced another feature along with the quotation request facility to make the process more efficient for customers. Mary Creavin Ludden owner of Cregal Art told us “customers can go on to the site and can efficiently purchase a number of items saving time and hassle. For example, when buying a particular paint, the customer can easily select and order any colour in the paint type. With a smarter search function and shopping facility, here at Cregal Art we have simplified the process for the individual and for groups and we have reduced shopping time by 75%.”

Rí na Mara Irish Seaweed Cosmetics

Rí na Mara is a family business that is 100% Irish owned and manufactures and sells Irish Seaweed Cosmetics. Owner Deirdre Ui Chathmhaoil tells us that “while the old website had not been updated in six years it needed to brought into line with international standards and a new and secure payment platform was introduced to provide confidence and trust for both Rí Na Mara and their customers.” 

Deirdre UIì Chathmhaoil Riì Na MaraBuilding Sales and Engaging with Customers

The Trading Online Voucher also allowed Rí Na Mara to introduce a social media platform on the site as well as an ezine and newsletters. This new facility enabled the company to collect email addresses from existing customers and visitors on the site and which in turn allowed them to target their marketing strategy. The new website also helped Rí Na Mara reach new markets and engage more meaningfully with their regular trade customers. They are now able to provide marketing materials to assist them promoting the products. Deirdre explained that their distributor in the UAE and Dubai can now access up to date social media and information needed for advertising events in UAE.

For 1 to 1 customers, the website contains an ingredients glossary and answers many questions about the products. This has helped build trust and confidence in the brand and also helps build brand awareness. The improved search engine optimisation has ensured that the website is now more visible online and has helped grow Rí Na Mara as a unique Irish brand. Overall the website has improved relationship with traders and increased sales and the customer base. The company has seen sales grow by 20% to date and are building on this.

The Local Enterprise Office Galway is inviting businesses in Galway city and county to apply for the Trading Online Voucher. To date 75 companies have been successful is applying for the voucher and those that availed, have seen many benefits for their business. If your business employs less than 10 and turnover is less then EUE2million and you satisfy the qualification criteria you can apply for the voucher. Some of the criteria includes: vouchers will be available to a maximum value of €2,500 or 50% of eligible expenditure (Inclusive of VAT), whichever is the lesser; voucher approval must be gained prior to incurring any expense; must be trading for at least 12 months and the proposed website must be aimed at transacting or communicating with customers online. Applicants must attend a briefing and this can be arranged by calling the office to make an appointment.

The LEO Galway offers a range of supports to any business starting up or growing in Galway – Advice, Mentoring, Workshops and in some cases financial support are available. For more information please visit To find out more about Trading Online Vouchers or for any other queries please call 091 50 90 90 or to arrange to meet with an advisor.