Value of an online presence still not clicking
Ireland's small businesses still aren't gravitating online, despite the opportunities an internet presence offers, according to the head of the firm responsible for Ireland's .ie registry.
David Curtin, the chief executive of the IE Domain Registry (IEDR), said that getting Ireland's small businesses online still represents one of the biggest challenges for the non-profit organisation.
He said that owners of some small businesses are probably still daunted by the technology, terminology and perceived cost of going online, when in fact the process of generating a basic website is now cheap, simple and straightforward.
He said the first step for small firms should be to get a basic presence online and then add e-commerce capability.
A recent study by communications firm UPC and research group Amarach showed that Irish consumers are spending about €6bn a year online, a figure that is expected to hit €12bn by 2020.
It said 25pc of Irish consumers shop online two to three times a month. But the report also found that 60pc of Irish consumers' online spending heads abroad.
The IEDR said that the total number of .ie net domain registrations rose 2.7pc in 2013 to 187,269. The number of new .ie registrations during the year slipped almost 4pc to 32,154.
The IEDR runs a programme called Optimise that provides funding to small business owners to get their enterprises online.This year the fund was worth €150,000.
Mr Curtin said that despite the initiatives by the IEDR and the Government, Ireland is still in a position that the UK was in five or six years ago in terms of having a large number of small businesses that still haven't made the online leap.
The IEDR reported registration revenue of nearly €2.6m for 2013, almost unchanged on 2012. Its operating profit rose to €131,000 from €71,000.