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Online Sales Hindered by Inadequate Irish Broadband?

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Despite the fact that Ireland is home to many of the big internet companies such Ebay and Google, many of our domestic small and medium enterprises are lacking an online presence. A large proportion of potential business is being lost to international and UK retailers. (More here)

According to a digital scorecard issued by the European Commission (read more here) the average percentage of small companies in Europe who sell online is 26 per cent. In comparison, figures from Ireland’s domain registry, IEDR, show that a mere 9% of Irish small and medium enterprises have the ability to process online sales. Further to this,  a whopping 37% have no online presence at all.

“The evidence suggests that Irish retail is losing out at fairly remarkable levels to international online retail businesses,” said Thomas Burke, director of Retail Ireland. (Source: www.irishtimes.ie)

ISME (Irish Small and Medium Enterprise Association) CEO, Mark Fielding cites the clear reason behind these figures – the inadequate broadband service, particularly in rural areas;It is not a lack of finance, expertise, interest or understanding that is holding businesses back from developing an online presence; it is broadband.”(more here)

The ISME have demanded a new emphasis on e-commerce, in particular for retailers, to allow them to future proof their business through investment in training and infrastructure. The organisation claims Ireland is an export-focused economy that is allowing the vast majority of retail businesses to miss out on the e-tailing and export opportunities offered by trading online (Source: www.businessworld.ie)

Tom Burke suggests one way to encourage online sales: “… there should be almost like a tax credit set up, so that any money that is allocated to an online presence for a retailer could be offset in terms of a VAT bill or some other mechanism.”

We’d love to know your thoughts. As a retailer, is your company’s ability to sell online hindered by an unsatisfactory broadband service?

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