09:15 - Joanna Lord, VP of Growth Marketing at SEOmoz
09:30 - Caroline Ghosn, Founder & CEO of The Levo League
09:45 - Maya Baratz, Senior Product Manager at ABC News
10:00 - Bas Van Den Beld, Founder & Chief Editor of State of Search
10:15 - Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite
Aislinn Mahon explains how Enterprise Ireland can provide retailers in the UK, and across global markets, with access to emerging technologies from Irish companies with world class solutions for retail. Aislinn is a member of the New Market Entrants Team in Enterprise Ireland UK, and supports the Retailer Solutions Initiative. For more on Retailer Solutions, check out this short video. eTail, the practise of selling products to consumers over the Internet, is a key area for focus for retailers in the UK and across global markets. The UK is Europe’s leading eTail economy and, at £68.2bn in 2011, now accounts for 17% of all UK retail sales. According to IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group), eTail sales are expected to reach £77bn in 2012, and there are now 37m online shoppers in the UK.
Not so long ago, many of the most successful retailers across the UK had little more than transactional websites to offer customers. Nowadays with the prominence of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, customers expect personalised and interactive experiences across all channels, buying when, what, where and how they like.
Bricks and mortar retailing has evolved, and serving this multichannel customer is at the top of retailers priorities. The concept is relatively new in the retail industry, and investment is essential as retailers compete with each other to offer the best multichannel experience for customers. Irish suppliers offer a plenitude of innovative solutions to help retailers in their quest to stand out from the crowd.
Strength of Irish Companies
Every multichannel strategy is underpinned by an ecommerce solution, which enables retailers to optimise the online experience for consumers. Established Irish company Buy4Now, led by CEO Michael Veale, has been assisting major retailers to build this foundation since 2000, and is behind some of the fastest-growing and most successful eCommerce websites.
The 24/7 consumer is always switched on, with touch screen devices such as smart phones and tablets transforming the way consumers interact with brands and retailers. According to KPMG’s latest annual survey, willingness to compare prices and complete transactions on mobile devices has rocketed. Bricks-and-mortar retailers need to respond to this rapidly changing consumer behaviour by directly engaging with their customers using the mobile channel. Tony Burke of Actus Mobile, who have just launched an App for Dundrum Town Centre, Ireland’s largest premier retail location, agrees: “Branded mobile applications built on Actus Mobile’s “Mobishop” platform assist retailers in building customer engagement before, during and after their shopping experience, thus driving footfall and increasing revenue”.
The rate of adoption of tablet usage is on the rise, with retailers striving to optimise this new consumer buying experience, referred to as “couch commerce”. According to Amplience, who has developed a platform for creating and managing multi-channel retail experiences “The rise of tablets is placing demands on retailers and brand owners to create super-rich merchandising experiences in yet another medium, one that constitutes an entirely new channel, with new technology, customer journeys and content and production demands”.
In a world filled with choices, consumers look to their peers for guidance on what to buy online. Customer reviews play an important role in persuading consumers to part with their money. Conor O’Neill, CEO of LouderVoice, the customer reviews solution provider, points to the benefits of investing in this technology: “Reviews grow sales through confidence, feedback, search engine optimization and social media referrals”.
‘eTail at the Embassy’, one of the many activities run by Enterprise Ireland under the Retailer Solutions Initiative
While online sales are on the rise, retailers are still committed to the value they can derive from the traditional, bricks and mortar experience. Indeed the worlds of online and offline are constantly converging, with many stores now offering consumers experiences that are traditionally found online. Eoghan O’Sullivan, CEO of Von Bismark, confirms this; ‘We have developed The Von Bismark Wardrobe platform which allows consumers to physically try on digital clothing, create biometrics profiles and share their experiences via social networks. It allows retailers to lower costs and returns while increasing customer retention and ultimately sales’.
When it comes to paying, customers expect that their experience is fast, secure and convenient, paying how, when and where they like. Realex Payments, who process payments for some of the largest names in retail, help retailers manage international transactions across multiple channels. Consumer payment habits are fast evolving, and managing multiple sales channels is a key challenge area for any retailer.
Not only are consumers becoming more mobile, retailers are too. Worldnet TPS, a provider of multi-channel online payment solutions, has recently developed Payjack, a mobile solution that enables mobile devices such as iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets to accept payments. According to Will Byrne, CEO of Worldnet TPS: “This means that now all merchants no matter how big or small can accept credit card payments”.
Retail is a fast paced world, with customers dictating the pace of change. Enterprise Ireland client companies can assist retailers in staying ahead of the game, with a host of innovative solutions that can enhance customer experience and raise the level of innovation.
Retailer Solutions is an initiative driven by Enterprise Ireland. We work with retailers to understand their strategic and operational needs, in order to introduce value-adding, multi-channel suppliers to them that are capable of increasing efficiency, enhancing customer experience, or raising the level of innovation. This post originally featured on www.retailer-solutions.com.
Enterprise Ireland welcomed members of the retail community to the Irish Embassy, London on Thursday, 14thJune 2012 to celebrate the range of exciting technologies coming out of Ireland. Enterprise Ireland is a champion of innovation, and can provide retailers with access to emerging technologies from Irish companies with world class solutions for retail. We call this group of leading suppliers ‘Retailer Solutions’.
The event included the launch of the new short video which gives a flavour of some of the Irish companies that Enterprise Ireland works with.
As the UK isEurope’s leading eTail economy, the focus of the day was on this growing area of retail. At £68.2bn in 2011, eTail now accounts for 17% of all UKretail sales. According to IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group), eTail is forecast to grow by 13% in 2012.
The first part of the day kicked off with Michael Ross of eCommera who shared his ‘Manifesto for a ‘metailer’’ with the audience. Michael spoke about recent changes in consumer behaviour, and how this impacts on retailing business decisions. This has moved from the store to the individual: location, location, location is giving way to customer, customer, customer.
Von Bismark was there on the day to showcase its wardrobe platform, which allows customers to physically try on digital clothing, and share their experiences via social networks. Check out our Pinterest account for images of this.
This is a guest post from Amy Neale, Marketing and Programme Manager at the National Digital Research Centre (NDRC).
We at NDRC (National Digital Research Centre) have just announced that we are now open for applications to LaunchPad. This investment programme is open for applications from digital start-ups from Ireland and internationally, and 15 start-ups will be selected to work with us for a 3 month period starting 13th February 2012. During this time we provide these 2 or 3 man bands with a hands-on, intensive mentoring programme; weekly workshops and networking opportunities with experts; as well as the all important investment of up to €20,000 per project. The three months will culminate with NDRC’s ‘LiftOff’ competition, taking place in May 2012 where the start-ups will present to a room of investors and compete for access to a follow on investment prize fund.
We were delighted earlier in 2011 to be ranked in the ‘Top 10 EU Accelerators’ by the Kauffman Fellows, and – along with Enterprise Ireland’s iGap programme – we have been nominated for Best European Accelerator at The Europas 2011. NDRC LaunchPad is producing award winning startups such as Redeem&Get and Hit the Road, and developing technology entrepreneurs with early stage innovative digital start-ups. We invest in and collaborate with early stage start-ups to establish market focused, technically excellent and profitable ventures.
In 2010–2011 NDRC mentored, trained and developed 39 entrepreneurs, and has to date secured €4.8 million in commercial investment for technologies and start-ups. Just ten days ago, NDRC-backed start-up Redeem&Get won the Spark of Genius Award, giving them access to an ACT Venture Capital term sheet worth €100k. This year NDRC received a record 81 applications for 15 places on the current LaunchPad Programme, with Irish, European and North American start-ups participating.
If you are interested in NDRC LaunchPad, come along to our open evening to meet the team, ask questions and find out everything you need to know about the accelerator programme, before the application deadline of 16th December. This informal evening will be held on Thursday, the 1st of December, and will start at 6.30pm and will run to 8.30pm. It will take place in NDRC’s ‘Digital Exchange’ building on Crane Street, Dublin 8 – please register your details here.
To apply for a place on NDRC LaunchPad visit www.ndrc.ie/launchpad; deadline for receipt of applications is 5pm on the 16th December 2011.
NDRC LAUNCHPAD CLOSING DATE 5pm 16th December 2011
“The iGAP program is an excellent opportunity to both network with a peer group of companies all experiencing many of the same challenges as you, and to hear from some of the world’s leading speakers on building companies and products. The speaker lineup was second to none, with lots of opportunities for interaction and feedback and to build connections. The program itself is very well structured, with lectures, group sessions and mentors and a great curriculum. It presented me with the perfect opportunity to reflect on my own startup and to put the spotlight on our processes for customer discovery, product design and business strategy. I can’t recommend the IGAP program highly enough to anybody building an internet or games industry company and lucky enough to be offered a place.
In a Business 2 Business internet startup? You should apply for iGAP.
“iGAP is one word…. ‘mandatory’. If you want to accelerate your web business and compete globally then you NEED to be on iGAP. If you want to learn from Silicon Valley insiders and world class thought leaders then you NEED to be on iGAP. If you want to collaborate and learn from a brilliant peer group then you NEED to be on iGAP.”
“The really great benefit for me has been the other companies taking part. We were a bit concerned because our company has been in business for longer, but actually the start-up companies on iGap has given us a new lease of life. We’ve started thinking more like a start up again and that’s given us a real focus. That alone has been great.
Hopefully we’ve been able to share some stuff back with other people on the programme as well.
One of the big benefits of iGap has shown in our marketing. I think it’s much more focused now. It’s the first year we have a proper marketing plan, and we’re analyzing the metrics so we’ll actually know for sure what’s working and what’s not.
All in all I think iGap is the best programme Enterprise Ireland has done. Why? Because it’s all practical. They seminar leaders are all guys who have done it.”
Brian Caulfield was the Programme Lead for the iGAP1/2.
“I have spent the last eight years as a venture capital and angel investor in technology companies. Prior to that, I was a technology entrepreneur for ten years. In those 18 years working in and with start-up companies I have become convinced that many entrepreneurs fail simply because they don’t have a clear vision of what their business really is…who their customers are; what their proposition for those customers is; how they are going to reach those customers; how they will make money from those customers. In a nutshell, they don’t have a clear strategy.
Getting to that clarity is essential for every business. That clarity enables you to prioritise tasks amidst the chaos of a start-up. It enables you to focus the team on what’s important. It enables you to articulate a clear and, hopefully, compelling investment opportunity to potential funders of the business.
This is a guest post from Michael O’Brien, Head of Marketing at EI client Celtrino.
What I love most about working in Celtrino, and the software sector in general, is that nothing stands still. We’re only back from exhibiting at Microsoft’s World Partner Conference in LA, and already we’re announcing our next step; an investment of close to €1million to develop our next generation of Smart Admin eInvoicing services on Microsoft’s Azure platform.
Our development, supported by Enterprise Ireland, is driven in part by the natural evolution of the technology as Celtrino has been a provider of SaaS based solutions in the cloud since the turn of 2000, but this announcement also heralds our overseas expansion and will enable a broader international customer base to access services such as e-invoicing and e-payments at a fraction of the cost in the today’s market.
This pure software-as-a-service play will position Celtrino for rapid global growth and is key to our overseas plan; it will enable a broader international customer base to reduce their trading costs by leveraging Celtrino’s supply chain information management and business process automation expertise.
I warmly recognise the role Enterprise Ireland have played in assisting Celtrino transition through the various stages of planning to executing an overseas marketing and sales strategy. Enterprise Ireland’s marketing intelligence and unique personal and industry relationships are invaluable in forging strong relationships with potential customers.
A client company I’ve been working with over the past few months, MicksGarage www.micksgarage.ie, is recruiting for a Head of Online Marketing. MicksGarage is a young, exciting, fast growing, iGAP company well known in Ireland and the UK.
The successful candidate will be someone who has strong online marketing skills with a specific focus on the UK market.
On the 23rd of June Enterprise Ireland London held an Online Retail Seminar at East Point. The companies attending were a mix of consumer and e-retail companies the common thread being they all wanted to sell online direct to consumer or sell to an online retailer!
The UK being one of the most online-advanced countries in Europe is really setting the standard in terms of online retail and we brought two distinguished speakers to Dublin to speak about the trends and the huge opportunity over here.