Without any doubt most Companies want to make it big – especially in eCommerce where your marketplace is potentially Global! But have you ever thought that those companies were also a startup at one point? Just to give a small example, we all know Shutter Stock, a photo library. Jon Oringer when started it, he was just a professional software developer and amateur photographer. He combined his skills and used 30,000 photos from his personal photo library to start the service. Currently Sutter Stock is worth $2 billion


If you are a “big company” don’t be afraid of experimenting with new things. Small companies, or companies with just a few people often try different ideas and innovations which can bring massive success!

The good thing about the startup is that they start fresh, and they have a lot of room to make changes. It like a big clean canvas and on which you can draw whatever you want on it because there is nothing to lose (yet) and there are no past products or legacy issues to deal with.

Decision Making:

Don’t be afraid to make quick decisions. Sometimes in small companies most decisions do not impact people in the company, that’s why startups are usually tweaking their ways around and back sometimes back again.

Decision making can be quick in small companies because there are less people or decision makers to rely on whereas bigger companies have more people and sometimes this just gets in the way, which can result in decisions being complicated and slow.

One tip is to listen to your customers because they are “almost” always right. Give them importance and respect the feedback.

Be Confident:

It is important for any company, big or small to be confident in the steps they are taking. I think small companies can be a bit quick and confident in what they do because they know they can make changes more quickly if at some point that decision is a wrong one. I am not saying that big companies are not confident, but since there are sometimes bigger risks involved.

For example, we all know that when Snapchat was founded, Mark Zuckerberg wanted to buy the company for $3 Billion, but the founders turned down the offer and saw an opportunity to make their future bright.

Today SnapChat is worth $30 Billion.

Culture of the company

The environment or the culture of the company is one of the keys to success. Hiring new people isn’t always the solution though. According to Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup, the focus on an exchange of ideas and learning opportunities are best positioned to draw in and keep talented individuals. These people want to work somewhere good, somewhere they can have influence and make an impact.

Keep it simple but efficient:

It’s a perception for some, that start-ups can work with more efficiency. Since they are almost always short of staff and everyone is doing everything and with limited workforce, they try to shape things effectively. Again, more complicated work can mean more staff and more staff means you need more money, so if you cannot get it right, you can be at a tricky wicket!

Hope this helps the “Big Guys” and the “Little Guys” too!!


The e-commerce industry is constantly growing as more consumers turn to the convenience of online shopping. This means that competition is always increasing and so to stay ahead of the game, ecommerce retailers need to keep up with emerging trends in the industry and implement them in their business.

In 2018, eCommerce retailers will notice that a lot of the trends are not brand new but are becoming more crucial to add to your business to stay ahead of the game. To ensure that your brand has a solid marketing strategy for the upcoming year, check out the top 5 trends to look out for in 2018.

1. Mobile Checkout/Digital Wallet

Mobile experience will be key to eCommerce in 2018. As mobile traffic surpass desktop, having a responsive site is no longer the most demanding requirement of your ecommerce site. 2017 saw an increase in the use of smartphones for online shopping and thanks to the introduction of digital wallets from the likes of Amazon and Apple Pay, we now predict that there will be a higher need for quick and easy payments made through the consumers digital wallet. Advancements in these simplified payment technologies on mobile will see an increase in the demand of simplified payment methods on eCommerce sites, including facial and fingerprint recognition. The convenience of one-click purchasing is appealing to consumers and is a feature which every online retailer should implement on their site this year. By the end of 2018, it will become obvious that online merchants who have chosen not to buy into this simplified payment method will no longer be able to afford to go without it.

2. Faster Delivery

As each eCommerce site gradually adapts to the new trends being introduced every year, it’s becoming harder to identify the USP of each site. However, in 2018, we believe that we’ll see an increase in the provision of same day/next day delivery by sites so as to differentiate themselves from competitors and make them the obvious choice for consumers to choose. Consumer expectations for deliveries are becoming more demanding with studies showing that customers would pay extra for more prompt delivery.

3. Influencer Marketing

In 2017, the use of influencers to promote products online through social platforms became common practice by e-commerce retailers and we believe that this will be no different in 2018. Online influencers are more effective than ever at driving the marketing strategies of online brands and have proven to drive growth for indigenous brands here in Ireland. There is no need to enlist the powers of costly celebrities to endorse your products anymore instead, micro-influencers have proven to be effective in gaining the consumer’s trust in the product as the promotion feels more transparent, natural and honest. Tapping into influencer marketing should be part of your e-commerce marketing strategy for 2018. Some of the most commonly used strategies include product reviews, offering influencer discounts to drive conversions and giveaways.

4. Augmented Reality

The use of AR by e-commerce retailers is set to be huge in 2018 especially in the homeware industry. The idea of trying before you buy is being presented to consumers by the likes of IKEA and Amazon, both of which have developed apps which allow consumers to see how various products will look in their home prior to purchasing. AR lets consumers experience products in an almost real life format, so by experimenting with product placements in the home, this in turn should help to reduce the number of returns which is one of the major problems for ecommerce retailers. By the end of 2018, there will be increased competition in the AR space for ecommerce.

5. Chatbots

While chatbots are not new to 2018, they will still be dominant in the ecommerce industry. Chatbots are crucial for online retailers these days as consumers now expect their concerns and issues to be addressed with an immediate response 24/7. As chatbots evolve and become more advanced, it becomes clear that consumer are unaware that they are communicating with a computer program. In today’s world, a brands reputation can be tarnished by bad customer service and slow-response times through one social post which is why if your business hasn’t implemented a chatbot on their ecommerce site then that should be a priority for 2018!

The eCommerce industry is constantly evolving and new trends come into play, so while these trends are paramount, it’s important to keep an eye on emerging trends and updates throughout the year. These 5 trends are worth looking at and implementing in you marketing strategy for 2018, as they may make this your best year yet!


Google Shopping Ads, also known as Product Listing Search Ads (PSLA’s), are one of the newer ad formats that Google have made available in recent years. Unlike Search Ads, they are not driven by keyword lists and are not made up of ad copy and ad extensions.

From the searchers point of view, Shopping Ads allow a person to quickly and easily compare features and prices of products without ever having to even click on an ad. From the point of view of the advertiser, this is a game changer. If done correctly, Shopping Ads can result in greater Click Through Rates (CTR’s) and higher quality potential customers landing on their ecommerce site.

Not only that, but Shopping Ads also offer the potential for advertisers to gain a lot more visibility. If you are also running Search Ads, both of your ad formats have the potential to show up at the same time when a person conducts a search, thereby giving your product more real estate in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Shopping Ads also tend to appear at the top of the SERP, above all other ads, so users are more likely to see your ads first.

However, with Shopping Ads proving to be a hugely successful platform for ecommerce websites, the competition can be quite fierce. Once you have your Shopping Campaign up and running, there are many steps that you need to take to optimise the ads and help ensure that you are giving your products the best opportunity that is possible.

Here are some of our top tips for optimising your ads:

1. Product Descriptions and Titles

Google Shopping

In the example above, you can see the Shopping Ads that appear when a user searches for “Calvin Klein Euphoria”. The ads comprise of an image, product title, product description, price, company name and, in some cases, star ratings. But how do you optimise your products so that they a) show up in the results above other competitors and b) they compel the user to click on them?

In some ways, optimising your Shopping Ads is quite similar to certain SEO practices. Keywords play a big part. Even though you are not using keyword lists in the same way that you would for SEO, keywords will play a part in your product optimisation. Do your keyword research in the same way that you would for Search Ads. Look at Search Term Reports and use tools like Google Keyword Planner. Once you have established the keywords you want to optimise your products for, make sure that your product titles and descriptions utilise those keywords effectively.

Once you have done that, the next step is to ensure that your product ads are compelling. As you can see in the example, a lot of information about the product is instantly available to the user. So you need to tell them why they should click on your ad above those of your competitors. Make sure that your product titles are relevant to what the person will have searched for and are concise and to-the-point. The searcher needs to be able to tell instantly what you are offering them.

2. Competitive Edge

What do you think will be the main factor that a searcher takes into consideration before deciding which Shopping Ad to click on? The main answer is Price Point.

If two competitors are offering the same product but one at a lower price than the other, then the cheaper offering is more likely to win the click. So be sure to do your competitor research. See what else is out there and at what price. And keep on top of this! Competitors may change their prices, especially if they see that you or someone else is offering more competitive pricing. So ongoing research on this is crucial.

Also be sure to showcase the key features of your product. If you have a promotion or a sale going on, capture their attention by using it!

3. Landing Pages

Optimising your ads to get people to click on them is not enough. The page that they land on has to also tick all the boxes if you want them to complete a purchase. This strategy is similar to Search Ads, in that you need to design your landing pages (which will be the product page) wisely and ensure that conversion optimisation practices are in place.

The importance of making sure that your landing page is relevant to the users search query is obvious. Also think about things such as your Shopping Basket. How easy is it for the user to add stuff to the cart?

4. Bidding Strategies

Don’t make the mistake that a lot of retailers make of setting your entire product catalogue at the same bidding strategy. Something that is retailing at a price of €5.99 should not be under the same bids as a product that retails at €39.99 for example. Come up with a bidding strategy that is based on product tiers. And don’t just think about the price you are selling them at. Also think about things like the popularity of the products. Look at your ecommerce conversion rates for your products and this should give you a lot of the information you need.

Another thing to consider when setting up bidding strategies is consumer habits. Do your consumer research and find out when your customers are most likely to make a purchase. For example, you may want to increase your bids at certain times of the day or on particular days of the week. Perhaps it’s unlikely that people will be searching for your products at 10am on a Monday morning when they are in work, therefore you can lower your bids at this time.

5. Monitoring and Optimisation

As is the case with your Search Ads, for a Shopping Campaign to be successful it requires ongoing monitoring and optimisation. For example, if you find that you have a low CTR, test different product images. We recommend you start out with higher bids in order to get your ads out there and get impressions. Once Google sees that your ads are being seen and getting clicks, you should be able to lower your bids and still get impressions.


Having a great product and marketing it well is one thing, but what if your website is clunky and hard to use? Your customers will find a better experience with one of your competitors and you’ll lose them forever. The key to attracting and keeping customers on your eCommerce website is to make the ux design, accessible and easy to use, plain and simple.

If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful – CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos

To fully understand what this means, lets break it down to the basics of what makes a great user experience for your customers in regards to your eCommerce website.

Quality Products they will promote.

This goes without saying, first and foremost, your products should be good. No one is going become a return customer or promote your products if they aren’t good. So avoid flogging a dead horse! If your products are good then promote customers to leave or provide reviews. You can offer incentives for confirmed purchasers to leave reviews such as discount codes for their next purchase.  Reviews are one of the first things people will look for before adding a product to the basket so making your happy customers sing your praises will provide an unsure customer with the confidence to make that purchase.

Quality Presentation they can trust.

One big mistake alot of people make is having poor product imagery or none at all. Would you be quick to hit that checkout button if the product image was blurry and had poor lighting?. Of the 3 products below, which would you be most likely to purchase based on the product image displayed? Which do you think will have the most sales conversions?

Product Imagery
Which of these 3 products would you mostly likely trust?

Provide a quality user experience they would recommend.

Making the payment process flow and require as little input as possible will ensure it’s quick and easy for people to buy your products, so don’t slow down the process bombarding them with additional CTA’s, countless form input fields and distractions such as email newsletter sign ups or up-selling tactics. Consumers are wiser than ever today and much prefer an unobtrusive and easy checkout process above all else.

Ask for less and they’ll buy more!

Let look at a poor example of a checkout and see whats bad in it.

Some might think to avoid having 3-4 steps in a checkout by just lumping it all into one page. This can easily backfire as evident in the above image. Lumping all the required information together can result in a mess that on first impressions will turn off most users as the amount of information required can be daunting.

Lets look at an example of a good checkout and see what they do right?

eCommerce Checkout

OK, so there’s a lot of good things happening in the above checkout page.

  • It’s clean and easy to understand.
  • I can easily see I have 1 item in my basket.
  • I can easily see I have free delivery with orders over €40. Up-selling without any hurdles or slowdown. Nice.
  • I can sign in to my account in any number of ways, or sign up.
  • The steps involved are clearly broken down into bite sized, digestible chunks. 4 simple steps. Sign In, Order Summary, Payment & Order Complete. What more would I need. Nice and simple.

The user experience is always adapting as the technologies evolve and users become more accustomed to a more fluid process. It can be a challenge to stay ahead of the curve but there’s no excuse for not tackling the simple things that are obvious. Quality presentation shouldn’t be out of anyone’s reach. Invest in a good photographer if you need too. The design and development should be able to design and create a stream lined checkout and avoid over-cluttering the design with distractions, allowing the user to make they’re way, unobstructed through to order completion.


Our 4th annual eCommerce Expo Ireland event was held on April 4th in Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland. It was a great day with some fantastic expert industry speakers providing in-depth insight and an opportunity for business to engage with industry eCommerce leaders. You can view some of the presentations from the day and previous events below or on our slideshare page.


Our 3rd annual eCommerce Expo Ireland event was held on April 19th in Dublin, Ireland. It was a great day with some fantastic expert industry speakers providing in-depth insight and an opportunity for business to engage with industry eCommerce leaders.

You can find all our presentations on our slide share account here.


The eCommerce Expo Ireland is a great communication platform in the eCommerce industry and gives speakers, exhibitors and attendees the opportunity to open a dialogue to an audience of experts in Ireland within eCommerce and selling online. The eCommerce Expo Ireland will take place on Tuesday, April 19th 2016, in the Crowne Plaza Dublin Northwood. With this one-day event you can meet 1 on 1 with eCommerce experts, ask questions, get advice, attend talks by Irish movers and shakers and hear their stories about the pitfalls of trading online and how best to navigate the waters of eCommerce.

Speakers include;

Patrick Obolgogiani of Nosto Solutions, Tim Dare of DPD Ireland, Dave McEvoy of Dmac Media, Susan Brady a digital marketing management professional, Mark Lilley of Chain Reaction Cycles, Jim Moore of All Points Payments, Eric Horgan of Elavon, Paul Dunne of Realex Payments, Gordon Newman from Life Style Sports, Dan Loughlin CEO of IRP Commerce. Stephen Quinn of Evolution Digital, Graham Merriman with Carrickane Consulting, Rob Curran, Chris Jones. Mentors, who will be also available on the day for 1-1 talks will be; Vinny O’Brien is Head of Multi-Channel Platform & Partnership Development at Luzern Solutions. Úna Dillon, Managing Director of Europe & John Cunningham, managing director of Autofulfil & founder of Schoolbooks.ie

Many other leading companies will be exhibiting at the expo throughout the day, able to discuss key items with attendees.

Presentations will include the following subjects:

  • Sales Conversion Optimisation
  • Personalisation strategies
  • How to Maximise revenue
  • Utilising real time data
  • Vendor and platform selection
  • Digital Marketing
  • Customer service
  • Shipping and logistics
  • Fulfillment
  • International selling and payments
  • VAT and tax implications

This event is perfect for entrepreneurs, retailers, managing directors, marketing staff, eCommerce managers, financial directors, content and operations managers or anyone looking to learn more about selling online. In this digital world, retailers and eCommerce entrepreneurs are facing new challenges. The modern consumers expect that the brands communicate with them on a personal level like never before. This event is your chance to share experience and insights on the eCommerce industry.


Our 2nd eCommerce expo event was held in April 2015 and was a very successful 1 day event. The eCommerce eXpo is first of it’s kind specializing in educating and helping Irish Businesses on how best to approach critical areas of ecommerce from planning, vender and platform selection, requirements gathering, SEO and digital marketing, customer service, shipping and logistics, international selling and even VAT and tax implications. At our 2nd event in April we had a larger array of companies exhibiting on the day and providing talks & 1 on 1 meetings. Companies such as An Post, Arnotts, Google, Taxback International, Eurobase, Evolution Digital, Radio Nova, dpd, OIT Mobile and many others.

Presentations 2015

You can download a copy of the days presentations here: Presentation 2015 (15MB)

Image Gallery


Top eCommerce Experts will give insight into all they know at eCommerce Expo Ireland Due to popular demand, a second Irish eCommerce Expo will be held on April 21st 2015 at the Crowne Plaza in Dublin Northwood. Hear from Irish online retailers who have been through it all and learn from their experience. Understand how they overcame the challenges both expected and unknown. The Expo is organised as a series of learning seminars featuring over 15 speakers and 25 exhibiting companies all of whom are available for one on one mentoring sessions. There will also be a roundtable discussion at the close of the expo featuring high profile CEOs including Blaine Callard from Harvey Norman.  The roundtable discussions will take the form of a Q&A. This year, the eCommerce Expo has arranged for even more speakers than before and will provide more one on one mentoring sessions, technical talks, networking and interaction than at the previous Expo which was the first of its kind here in Ireland. Speakers will be discussing how best to approach critical areas of eCommerce for start-ups as well as established online businesses, giving attendees an insight into how they can navigate the growing eCommerce wave taking over Ireland.

The presentations will include the following subjects:

  • Sales Conversion Optimisation
  • Personalisation strategies
  • How to Maximise revenue
  • Utilising real time data
  • Vendor and platform selection
  • Digital Marketing
  • Customer service
  • Shipping and logistics
  • Fulfilment
  • International selling and payments
  • VAT and tax implications

The Speaker list this year includes eCommerce professionals from Google, Life Style Sports, Arnotts, Practicology, Taxback International and more! To view a full list of speakers, click here. The list of Exhibiting Companies include Google, Salesforce, Elavon, The Irish Internet Association, and Buy4Now Technology Group. For a full list of the 25 confirmed exhibitors click here. According to a study conducted by Digitaltimes.ie, in 2014, the Irish and people living in Ireland spend €8.5 million a day online on goods with retailers in other countries. Put simply, Irish retailers and businesses have not got to grips with selling online, or online marketing. The Ecommerce Expo will run from 8:00am until 5.30pm with breakfast and lunch included. The event will start and finish with networking sessions.

eCommerce Expo Press Release

Tickets are available for sale here, use discount code ECOMEXPO2015 for €50 off your ticket. The eCommerce Expo is organised by the eCommerce Partner Network Europe (EPNE), a network of Irish eCommerce companies and experts who advise Retailers on best practices.  Their aim is to provide a knowledge resource to anyone looking to sell online in Ireland and also how make the most of commercial opportunities within the rest of Europe. Follow @Ecommerce_Expo on Twitter and on Linkedin to receive the latest updates about the expo!


Crowne Plaza Dublin Northwood / OCTOBER 7th 2014

We held the very first eCommerce expo event in October 2014 and it was a very successful 1 day event. The first of it’s kind specializing in educating and helping Irish Businesses on how best to approach critical areas of ecommerce from planning, vender and platform selection, requirements gathering, SEO and digital marketing, customer service, shipping and logistics, international selling and even VAT and tax implications.

Presentation 2014

You can download a copy of the days presentations here: Presentation 2014 (10MB)

Speakers 2014

Below are a list of the great speakers we had at our October 2014 eCommerce Expo event.

eCommerce Expo Speakers 2014

Below are a list of the great speakers we had at our October 2014 eCommerce Expo event.

Stephen Quinn is one of the co-founders of Evolution Digital, One of Ireland's Leading and first Digital & Online Marketing Companies.

Stephen Quinn

Evolution Digital

Bob Curran has been involved in the online arena for over 14 years. An avid networker, he has Retail management connections throughout the UK and Ireland.

Bob Curran

Buy 4 Now

Willows Consulting’s Managing Director will be speaking about how to choose your ecommerce platform, the pitfalls, how to integrate and future proof your chosen platform into your existing IT infrastructure.

Sean Owens

Willows Consulting

Paul Dunne is Head of Business Development in Ireland for Realex Payments; one of Europe’s leading online payment gateways, processing in excess of €28bn per annum for over 12,000 businesses.

Paul Dunne


John Cunningham is the founder of Schoolbooks.ie John has grown Schoolbooks.ie from a fledgling home based start-up in 2003 to become the largest retailer of Educational Books in Ireland.

John Cunningham


Formerly of Arnotts and eBay, now he is the Multi-channel manager at Mick's Garage and he is responsible for adding approx 10 new channels this year, in 3 different languages across, 4 major countries.

Vinny OBrien

Micks Garage

Lisa Dowling is a VAT Manager with Taxback.com and has over 10 years experience in international VAT compliance and consultancy.

Lisa Dowling


Julie Colclough is founder and Managing Director of Eurobase. Founded in 1992, Eurobase provides multi lingual customer support services and order fulfilment services on behalf of US, Australian, Asian and Irish online retailers.

Julie Colclough


Tim has worked for DPD since 2008 and is now a senior member of their sales organisation. Tim has worked with over 100 Irish online retailers in this time, ranging from small independent start-ups to multinational retailers.

Tim Dare

DPD Ireland

Fergal is co-founder of Eccomplished, the retail technology accelerator. Prior to Eccomplished Fergal co-founded 10CMS (now Amplience), a leading ecommerce solution provider with over 300 customers globally.

Fergal OMullane


Image Gallery

A huge thank you to the very talented Ger Holland for her photography skills on the day! You can check out her work here www.gerhollandphotography.com