IIA needs your help with developing e-commerce tools

Blog post written by Joan Mulvihill (CEO at the Irish Internet Association) www.iia.ie 

We’re spending €8.5million every day online

We seem to be stuck. There’s no doubt that ecommerce in Ireland is thriving – if you’re a consumer.  We’re spending €8.5million every day online. It seems however that our retailers are lagging behind in meeting the needs of customers when it comes to selling to them as we leak 80% of that online shopping spend to overseas retailers.    

The Irish digital landscape

There have been great reports on the Irish digital landscape, our digital literacy, usage levels and engagement. The IEDR, UPC (now Virgin Media), the DCENR have all supported valuable reports that tell us the scale of the problem. In accepting the findings of these reports there have been some great initiatives launched over the years, GIBO, Business Online Voucher Schemes. They’ve been effective in so far as they’ve given businesses websites but surely that’s not going to be the metric of success.  

Did we learn nothing from the building boom bust? Building ghost websites, ones that are nothing more than a brochure and URL is just as much a waste of resources as building houses that are not fit for purpose or half-filled ghost shopping centres. To be effective, to be fit for purpose we have to start by acknowledging that there is no ‘one size fits all’ ecommerce strategy.

Just as Tesco and Avoca have different customer offerings, value proposition and formats that are reflected in the UX (user experience) in store, so too exists difference in how they are presented to their customers online.

Conquering Ecommerce

Conquering Ecommerce is not a simple question of sticking a shopping cart button on your website. I dare to suggest that some business should NOT be selling online via their own website. For some, selling through other’s channels might be the better option e.g. DoneDeal, Etsy, Amazon, JustEat.

Addressing the ecommerce gap in Ireland requires an understanding of retail, in-depth knowledge of the technology and a strategic interest and investment in driving eCommerce growth.   

The Irish Internet Association Ecommerce Working Group have pulled together the best-practitioner etailers and providers covering everything from logistics and web development to tax, payments and digital marketing.


We’re going to build a diagnostic tool that will allow businesses to enter they key characteristics of their business that will filter them to the ecommerce avatar that most matches their business.  The avatar will take them through to the online version of the workbook ‘chapter’ for that relates to them and will function as a guide to the most appropriate ecommerce business strategy that would work for them and the body of knowledge they need to implement it.

These guides can be used by business owner and their advisors alike to ensure that businesses are working to the best-fit ecommerce strategy for them.  And when we’ve built it we’re taking it on a roadshow around the country!

The ask

So what’s the big ask?  We believe that there are broadly 8 – 10 different ecommerce business models depending on the nature of the product, the price point, the size of range, whether pure-play or omni-channel and indeed the owners ambition for growth.   The IIA diagnostic tool once developed will allow businesses (by entering their key business characteristics) to see which ecommerce business model will be the best-fit for them.

Naturally, these business models will be reflective of industry best-practitioners and that is where you come in.   We need your participation in the development of this tool to define best-practice.  By completing the survey on this link www.iia.ie/etail you will be sharing with us your business characteristics and approach.  Your information is in very safe hands and will only be used for the purpose of this project – your input will be critical to our shared success in solving the Irish ecommerce conundrum.  




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Tuesday, 23 July 2019
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