The webcast is concluded but the main issues raised during the online trading roundtable discussion with the Taoiseach are available here.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny will this morning host a discussion with Irish businesses to explore the growth, challenges and potential jobs opportunities arising from trading online. This is the first time such a meeting will be webcast live via MerrionStreet.ie so that this discussion can be shared with others interested in the conversation, from across the country.
The Taoiseach has invited ten businesses from across Ireland to hear their experiences of the challenges and opportunities associated with selling online. These companies have a variety of online trading experience, from those who have no retail component to their online presence to those that have fully-functioning online stores trading internationally.
Topics for discussion are expected to include the potential which online trade offers, barriers to firms becoming active online, and the relevant State supports. It is hoped that the meeting will inform current initiatives underway as part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs 2013 and the National Digital Strategy as well as the preparation of next year’s planning.
Speaking in advance of the event, the Taoiseach said:
Last year we spent €3.7 billion online but 70% of this went to retailers abroad. An Irish person typically spends €116 per month online and this figure is only set to grow further.Trading online offers a real and growing opportunity for Irish retailers to market their goods and services more broadly, make more sales both here and abroad, and retain or grow staff numbers. We are taking steps, such as the new Trading Online Voucher Scheme to encourage more retailers to get selling online and we need to see what more needs to be done.I want to hear directly from retailers their experiences and needs, which is such a valuable part of getting our supports right. In broadcasting online, I want to start as broad a conversation as possible about the progress we can make in this area and help create more jobs in this country.
The live webcast can be viewed at www.merrionstreet.ie from 12 noon today.
To follow the conversation on Twitter, please use #retailroundtable
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Companies attending meeting:Mick’s Garage
Attending meeting: Michael Crean, Owner
Mick’s Garage was founded in 2004 and provides online sales of auto parts and accessories, targeting the motoring public and non-franchised dealers. The company describes itself as ‘the car part expert’ and has developed a strong eCommerce solution to serve its customers.Wine Online
Attending meeting: Will Mullin, Business Development Manager
Wine Online is an Irish Company set up in 1999 based in Santry. It is a family run business specialising in delivering wine to its customers throughout Ireland using an express delivery service. It operates exclusively online.The Whyte House
Attending meeting: Karen Whyte, Owner
The Whyte House was founded in 2000 in Westport. The company sells contemporary ladies fashion, specialising in occasion wear and quality day wear for over 35′s. The company has recently opened an online shop.Vibes & Scribes
Attending meeting: Joan Lucey, Owner
Vibes and Scribes opened in Macroom, County Cork in November 1991. The company quickly expanded and now has three premises in Cork City centre. The company sells good quality bargain and second hand books as well as a range of new books specialising in arts and crafts; mind, body and spirit and cookery.Doyle’s The Butchers
Attending meeting: David Doyle, Owner
Doyle’s The Butchers was established in 2009 and has five retail outlets in Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare. The company is opening a new food store in October (Doyle’s the Food Store) in Dundrum which will include a full delicatessen, fruit & veg, dairy & fish department. The company has operated a full e-commerce website since it opened and are currently in the process of upgrading their online presence.The Happy Pear
Attending meeting: David Flynn, Owner
The Happy Pear is based in Greystones and has been in business for 9 years. It employs about 50 people. It originally opened as a fruit and veg shop but quickly expanded into a wholefood café/restaurant, a superfood farm, a distribution business and more recently into fruit farming (cherries & plums). In 2011, they started trading online with an online shop, www.thehappypear.ieLife Style Sports
Attending meeting: Gordon Newman, Head of eCommerce
Lifestyle Sports is an Irish Company selling performance sports gear which has been in operation since 1979. The Company has 66 sports outlets in the Republic and Northern Ireland. Lifestyle Sports opened their online store in October 2012.Gutterman.ie
Attending meeting: Bernard Hill, Owner
Gutterman is a family business based in Rathcoole, Co. Dublin. They supply and fit gutters soffit fascia rainwater systems to new build and existing buildings in the greater Dublin area. They have an existing website which is used to promote the business and to engage with customers.Adverts.ie
Attending meeting: Gordon Stuart, Group Finance & Operations Director
Adverts.ie is a community based marketplace where individuals can buy or sell items online. Launched in 2006 by Boards.ie, Ireland’s largest community website, Adverts.ie has facilitated the sale or purchase of thousands of items across every type of category imaginable. Adverts.ie has over 450,000 members across Ireland.Freshthinking
Attending meeting: Jackie Rynn, Business Development Manager
Based in County Kildare, Fresh Thinking was founded in 2010 to provide training and executive coaching services to the Irish and UK market in the areas of management, leadership, business, stress management, mindfulness, communications, personal development and ICT including social media.