Match Your Brick-and-Mortar Store With A LEO Grant And An eCommerce Website
Businesses with physical stores in the real world are the ones benefiting the most from eCommerce websites. Ireland-based Local Enterprise Office grants of €2,500 or 50% of the eligible cost to help businesses make this transition.
You may have heard about omnichannel marketing, describing an advertising strategy which involves speaking to one’s customers with one voice via all available channels of marketing: in-store, on the business’ website, on social media, or through traditional advertising.
Achieving this is not easy but when done right, it’s extremely powerful.
The pandemic has led to an explosion in online trading. Traditional businesses need to start embracing online trading if they want to stay ahead of the game. Your Local Enterprise Office wants local small businesses to shift online and they help them do this with real support in the form of the €2.5k Trading Online Voucher Grant. With that in mind, we have compiled the following guide to help aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners looking to apply for this grant make their moves on the digital market.
TRADING ONLINE VOUCHERS
Your customers are constantly checking your business out on the web and smartphones are increasingly used for this purpose (as opposed to desktop computers). They are also using their phones to compare prices and read product reviews. This means that business owners need to ensure that their business website looks great on a mobile phone as well as on a desktop browser.
Even with the increase in online shopping, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, people still like going into real stores, trying and touching the merchandise, and asking for help directly from experienced and knowledgeable staff. This can be taken advantage of by enticing your employees to accompany your customers around your store where, in addition to offering help in advice, they can use a tablet to show them your online inventory from your eCommerce website. Your customers can then make transactions right there either for a product from the shelf or from the website. Research has demonstrated that this kind of personalised approach is greatly favored by customers so it can be a great tool to grow customer loyalty for your business. Additionally, hosting special events and offering fun stuff to do at the store will facilitate this further.
‘Showrooming’ is when customers visit a store where they check out a product which they proceed to order online. ‘Webrooming’ is the opposite – it’s when customers research products online before visiting a store for final evaluation and purchase. Businesses with real stores in physical locations have the advantage here as 70% of people like to ‘Webroom’ while only forty-six per cent of customers have been shown to ‘Showroom’.
Businesses who have both fields covered, physical and digital, generate up 190% more in revenue than those who rely on one of these marketplaces only.
The 80/20 rule
For starters, offer only the top twenty of your best-selling products on your website. A limited start will enable you to get the details of every moving part right – from technology to inventory to shipping and cross-channel marketing.
80% Online Retail Scheme
What you need to know
In order to qualify for receiving a voucher, your business must fit the following requirements:
- The business has ten or fewer employees;
- The business has limited or no digital presence;
- The annual turnover is less than two million Euros;
- The business must have been trading for at least six months;
- The business must be located in an area covered by the LEO where the application is submitted (LEOs cannot accept applications for businesses located outside of their jurisdiction.
Your Local Enterprise Trading Online Voucher Grant Can Be Used To Fund The following activities
- IT consultation;
- Development or upgrade of an e-commerce website;
- Implementing online payment or booking systems;
- Purchase of internet-related business software;
- Purchase of online advertising (this purchase cannot make up more than thirty per cent of the approved TOV amount and may only be drawn down in one payment phase);
- Developing an app or multi-platform web page;
- Implementing a digital marketing strategy via social media or other;
- Consultation with ICT experts for early-stage adopters of online strategy;
- Training and skill development specifically targeted at establishing and managing online trading activity
Previous recipients of the Voucher may apply for a second Voucher. Previous Voucher recipients may not apply for a second Voucher before submitting their final claim for the first Voucher. Applicant businesses must provide clear proof of trading for a minimum of six months to their local enterprise office.