Edited and prepared by Oscar Michel, Masters in Journalism, DCU
Interesting interview with the eCommerce Association of Ireland team (eCAI). They give a concise description of what their company is. Find them on Twitter here.
Describe the company – the elevator pitch …
The eCommerce Association of Ireland is a voluntary body dedicated to information, best practice and standards in eCommerce in Ireland. As the only body dedicated to eCommerce, we seek to develop a community of eCommerce professionals with the single goal of developing the industry for the betterment of business and consumer alike.
How are you different?
We are voluntary. We are run by eCommerce professionals. We are focused on nothing but eCommerce. We are non-profit and we are impartial.
Why will the company/product do well?
Because there is a need. The trajectory of the association to now has been astounding.
Its started with a Meetup group. We just said to ourselves, “Why don’t we set up the eCommerce Association of Ireland?”, because there wasn’t one. We renamed the group and launched a simple website.
It snowballed from there. We attracted a fantastic board of some of the leading names in eCommerce in Ireland. We were approached by EMOTA, a Brussels based umbrella group for 20 ecommerce associations throughout Europe to represent Ireland. Dublin City Local Enterprise Office supported us and asked us to hold an event for Enterprise Week in Dublin’s City Hall.
We are driven by the reaction we get. People outstretch their arms in support for us, without us even asking for it. Offers to sponsor future events reach well into 2018 and everyday, more and more people ask us to volunteer and get involved. It’s very exciting.
Where are you based?
We are based in Dublin, but with volunteers throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland. We all work remotely and don’t have any offices yet.
When was the company launched?
Officially as a company in March 2017. Unofficially as a Meetup group in 2015.
What have been your biggest wins to date?
We have held three very successful events aimed at growing membership. Since opening our membership eight weeks ago we have 200 members.
What type of people (market segment) are you trying to attract to your product?
Anyone and everyone interested in eCommerce can become a member. We want to represent traditional retail and eCommerce, but also represent digital products and services who sell online.
Retailers, business owners, founders, startups, marketing, logistical, development, design and payment professionals and all support industries with an eye on the eCommerce market. They are all welcome.
Tell us about your team?
The eCAI is run by a core team consisting of Niall Bodkin, Ultan Sharkey, Dwayne Wilson and Ken Condon. Each member has a wealth of experience in different aspects of eCommerce.
Niall oversees the core team, but each member is responsible and takes equal ownership for their own section. Essentially we run this as founders of a startup.
Niall is the founder of startup Shopism.com, an ecommerce dropshipping marketplace specifically for bricks and mortar shops and their suppliers.
Dr Ultan Sharkey is owner of Sharkey Consulting. Dwayne Wilson is National Key Account Manager for Brandbank Ireland, and Ken Condon is Sales Manager for Retail Rocket.
What are your long term plans for your product/company?
Our sole aim is to create an independent eCommerce body that stands on its own two feet, giving impartial advice and advocating on behalf of our members, both in Ireland and in the EU.
We started by asking members what they want, and they replied overwhelmingly, “We want to network and learn from each other”, which is evident from the high turnout at our events.
Dr Sharkey is currently developing a nationwide year-on-year survey of eCommerce in conjunction with NUI Galway, which will help our members benchmark themselves better and compare and contrast with competitors in other jurisdictions.
Ireland lags behind the UK in terms of eCommerce use and technology. It’s not a matter of catching up, we want to surpass them and work together to ensure Irish consumers get the best technology, the best shopping experience and the best after sales service, whilst encouraging best practice to deliver year on year growth for eCommerce professionals.
What are your favourite tech gadgets?
Niall – I love my Flash Drive Swiss Army penknife. Techy and practical. Its got a pen too, which I get a lot of Oooh’s from.
Ken – Has to be my mouse. I have a logitech m590 and can’t operate without it ,,, sad i know
Dwayne – Not big into tech gadgets so would have to go with the smartphone.
Ultan – I’m with Dwayne on this, the versatility of smartphones now means I use it constantly.
What tech gadgets do you wish you could use to help you?
We just held a Shop of the Future event and discussed what tech might be used in eCommerce in the future. The idea of a Star Trek type delivery was the coolest. A lot of tech that we use today comes from programs like Star Trek. They had great imagination.
Anything else you’d like to add/we should have asked?
Membership is open to all ecommerce professionals and people involved with ecommerce businesses. It’s also free for the first 12 months currently. To register free use coupon code ‘irishtechnews’ at https://www.ecai.ie/register
How do people get in touch with you?
Email: [email protected]