The ongoing enforcement of social distancing measures on high streets across Ireland will lead to a surge in businesses looking to boost their online presence this Christmas, according to a leading Irish eCommerce provider.
Magico Managing Director Paul Montwill says retailers have been focusing on reopening their stores in recent weeks but will need to develop an online sales presence in the coming months to offset any reduction in footfall during the lucrative festive period.
Mr. Montwill added that Irish Exchequer figures showing a higher than expected tax intake from online sales during May is a positive sign for retailers. He says it indicates Irish consumers are recognising the advantages of buying from local businesses, including quality products offered and shorter delivery times.
Meanwhile, Magico clients across all industries have recorded a 500% increase in online sales since public health measures were introduced in March resulting in the temporary closure of thousands of businesses across the country.
“We have been implementing eCommerce for over 20 years for clients in all industries, both in business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B), and we have never witnessed such a seismic shift in online sales. Businesses that were trading online pre-COVID have performed very well in recent months and are well set up to benefit from any boost in online shopping this Christmas,” stated Mr. Montwill.
He said that while Christmas has not yet entered the thoughts of many businesses, a lot can happen between now and the start of the Christmas sales in four to five months.
“There’s enough time for COVID-19 to completely disappear but there could also be a winter surge which most believe will not result in a total lockdown again but could result in further social distancing measures being introduced,” stated Mr. Montwill. “Social distancing in retail terms means limited numbers of people allowed into a shop at a time – which will likely lead to an increase in online Christmas shopping this year as customers seek to avoid spending hours queuing up from shop to shop. People have also learned in the last 3 months that online shopping is actually very easy to do”.
Mr. Montwill, “As a country we need to ensure that consumers are encouraged to do their online Christmas shopping with Irish-based retailers and not foreign websites. The Exchequer figures were buoyed in May by an extra €1 billion in VAT than it had planned for. One of the reasons for this is that a lot of the online shopping was conducted on Irish websites – and we need to ensure it stays local for Christmas so that the VAT is collected for our country.”
Mr Montwill added that in-store service will improve over time as retailers adjust to handling customers in a totally new manner.
He explained, “Shopping seems to be harder to do than it used to be. You can be unlucky and end up queuing outside the shop you want to go into for 20 minutes or sometimes, a lot more. Browsing is not yet an option – once you are in a shop, you must get what you want before you leave as you may not get a chance to return. You do spend more in the shops as you end up buying items that you may otherwise have deferred to another time”.
Earlier this week, Magico joined with other leading tech firms IE Domain Registry and eShopWorld to offer Guaranteed Irish member businesses the exclusive opportunity to avail of a full website consultation service and eCommerce review for all member SMEs and large-scale enterprises based in Ireland. The initiative comes as the Government expands the Trading Online Voucher Scheme by €14.2m as part of its ongoing Covid-19 response following unprecedented demand for the Scheme, with a record 3 years’ worth of applications received in just 3 months from mid-March to June this year.
Headquartered in Ennis, County Clare, Magico has worked with ambitious online Irish retailers for over 20 years. Its current client base includes REI Online Retailer of the Year, Vaughan Shoes, as well as many of Ireland’s leading online brands across all industries including McGuirks Golf, Nourish and Inish Pharmacy, each availing of the company’s eCommerce Platform (abcommerce). All Magico product development is based in Ireland. Visit magico.com.