Are you looking to boost your online presence but don’t know where to start? You’re in luck! The Online Retail Scheme is a game-changer for online retailers in Ireland.
Administered by Enterprise Ireland on behalf of the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment (DETE), this competitive fund has a total size of €3.4 million. It aims to help Irish retailers with a pre-existing online presence to scale up and become more resilient in both domestic and global marketplaces. As your go-to online accountant in Ireland, we’re here to provide you with all the information you need.
Table of Contents
Let’s get into the nitty-gritty. The Online Retail Scheme is open to Irish-based retail enterprises that meet specific criteria:
- Full-time employees: At least 10 full-time employees.
- Physical store: A brick-and-mortar store is a must.
- Existing online presence: Whether it’s a website or social media, you need to be online already.
- Job creation or sustainment: Your business should either create new jobs or sustain existing ones.
- Online growth: You should aim to increase online transactions.
- International expansion: Plans to take your business global are a plus.
- Majority revenue from retail: More than 50% of your revenue should come from retailing products directly to consumers.
- B2C focus: If you have both B2C and B2B operations, B2C should account for more than 50% of total revenue.
Previous grant recipients
You can reapply if you’ve received the Online Retail Scheme grant only once before and have completed the funded project.
By meeting these criteria, you’re not just eligible; you’re the kind of business that the Online Retail Scheme is designed to help. So, if you tick these boxes, what are you waiting for?
Who’s NOT eligible?
Just as important as knowing if you’re eligible is knowing if you’re not. The Online Retail Scheme is generally not open to:
- B2B businesses: If your primary revenue comes from business-to-business transactions, this scheme isn’t for you.
- Non-Retail businesses: Service providers, consultancies, and other non-retail businesses are not eligible.
- Previous multiple-time recipients: If you’ve already been approved for two or more projects in previous calls, you’re not eligible for this round.
- Businesses with fewer than 10 employees: Smaller businesses are usually directed to other grant schemes like the Trading Online Voucher scheme.
- And several other specific cases, such as those in the hospitality and leisure services, or those that have reached their De Minimis aid limit.
What can you use the grant for?
The Online Retail Scheme is designed to cover a broad range of activities to help you bolster your online presence. Here are some of the eligible activities:
- Website optimisation: This includes improving the design, layout, and user experience of your website to make it more customer-friendly.
- Content development: Creating high-quality content that engages your audience and improves your site’s SEO.
- Inventory management systems: Implementing or upgrading systems that help you manage your stock levels more efficiently.
- Customer relationship management (CRM) systems: Tools that help you manage customer data, interactions, and relationships.
- Data analytics: Implementing tools that help you understand customer behavior, track website performance, and make data-driven decisions.
- Digital marketing: Activities that promote your business online, such as SEO, PPC advertising, social media marketing, and email marketing.
Ineligible activities and costs
Certain activities and costs are NOT covered:
- Upgrades that would happen anyway
- Purchase of hardware or “off-the-shelf” software
- Online advertising campaigns
- Offline marketing costs
- And more
Now that you understand the eligibility criteria and what activities are acceptable, you can better assess whether the Online Retail Scheme is the right fit for your business.
How much funding can you get?
Successful applicants can receive a maximum of 50% of eligible project costs, up to €25,000. The minimum project expenditure is €20,000
How to apply and evaluation criteria
The application process is a two-stage affair involving an online form and submission of your most recent full year of Statutory Accounts, As a qualified online accountant in Ireland, we can assist you through this process.
Your application will be evaluated based on:
- Strength of the project (30%)
- Impact on competitive position and viability (30%)
- Ambition to internationalize (15%)
- Internal Project Champion (15%)
- Financial track record (10%)
The real-world benefits of the online retail scheme
Let’s talk numbers and real-world impact. Businesses that have utilized this scheme have reported a surge in sales, both domestically and internationally. They’ve also noted a significant improvement in the digital skill sets among their staff. The scheme doesn’t just offer financial backing; it contributes to the holistic growth of your business.
How our ecommerce accountant services can help
We offer a comprehensive range of services to manage the financial aspects of your online business, ensuring you maximize the benefits of the Online Retail Scheme. Having an experienced ecommerce accountant by your side will help you on your journey to grow your ecommerce business.
The Online Retail Scheme is a golden opportunity for online retailers in Ireland. If you meet the criteria, this could be your ticket to scaling up your business like never before. So why wait? Apply now and take your online retail business to the next level!