Interview with Daniel Loughlin, CEO and founder of IRP Commerce

  • Q. For those who have never attended eComm live before, what can they expect?

    You can expect a vibrant and enjoyable event. There'll be great training sessions and networking. It will be a great place to find out more about eCommerce products and services so we'll learn a lot and most importantly make worthwhile connections.

    Q. In terms of eCommerce, do Northern Ireland companies compete effectively with their counterparts in UK and ROI?

    Northern Ireland has a huge advantage because of the dual market access currently. Not only can Northern Ireland compete - we can outperform companies from United Kingdom and Ireland because we have that added benefit.

    Companies like Chain Reaction Cycles became the largest in their market in the world using IRP technology - formerly selling to over 150 countries from Ballyclare with annual online sales parking at nearly £180m.

    We have clusters of companies using IRP technology to be in the top 5 in their markets for online sales - so I would say there's nowhere better to be in eCommerce than in Northern Ireland.

    Q. What are the top do’s and don'ts when it comes to selling online?

    Basically, it’s about keeping on top of the numbers. Maintaining real-time control of your sales and your costs and being data-driven, especially around profit is essential.

    I would say also, don't believe people too much. It's one of those industries where a lot of people promise a lot of things but at the end of the day, it's all highly analytical and numbers based. There are no golden tickets and you have got to work for everything. Also, perhaps don't put your faith in SEO. Paid channels are predictable, accessible and can drive growth if done properly.

    Q. What trends are you witnessing in eCommerce currently?

    It's an interesting one because I think that eCommerce is now a tighter market. I don't think that there will be much overall market growth this year so companies have to work hard to take market share off their competition and going international needs to be a key part of that strategy. Individual companies can still grow astronomically because the markets are so large.

    In addition to this, the eCommerce landscape is not changing as quickly. It has established itself now in terms of how it works, the kind of technologies you need and the kind of tactics you employ. However, ChatGPT is one technology to watch closely that has the power to completely disrupt many industries and that might include eCommerce.

    Q. Do you think the metaverse will have a significant impact on the future of eCommerce?

    In the near future, I don't think there's going to be a major impact from the metaverse. If you look at Facebook's eCommerce, their acquisition costs and what return you get from Facebook advertising - it's often a poor eCommerce investment. So it's not nearly as important a channel as say Google for most merchants. There are also other channels that also offer better ROI such as email marketing and affiliate marketing.

    I think the Metaverse may struggle within eCommerce for now and there are reasons for that. When you're buying something on Facebook, often you don't really want to be sharing personal information on everything that you're buying and there's that privacy concern with Facebook. With the Metaverse, I'll remain a bit of a sceptic about it until proven otherwise.

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