Economy Minister Gordon Lyons welcomed the digital support provided to more than 700 retail and wholesale businesses in the North at the Houston department store in Enniskillen.
The Digital Selling Capability Grant (DSCG) and Micro-Business E-Commerce Grant (MBEG) have helped companies like Houstons manage the Covid lockdown period.
Both schemes were developed by Invest NI to help businesses improve their e-commerce and digital marketing capabilities and expand their online sales in response to the challenges of COVID-19.
These schemes received a total of £5m in funding, including an allocation from the Ministry of Economy’s Economic Recovery Action Plan.
During a visit to Houston, Minister Lyons said:
“Many people use grants to focus on their business’s online strategy, develop new e-commerce websites, and use consulting services. It allowed us to react quickly and grow in new ways.”
Houston’s is a long-established local brand with eight retail outlets in Northern Ireland.
Invest NI provided Houston with a DSCG grant to cover the cost of developing an e-commerce website and digital marketing strategy.
The Minister continued:
“Following DSCG’s support, Houstons saw a 400% increase in monthly online sales, especially in the UK, and expanded its team to meet the increased demand.
“This is just one example of how my province’s economic recovery action plan has had a positive impact on businesses here.”
Houston director John Huston said the DSCG has benefited stores and helped drive online sales.
“Our new Shopify website and digital marketing strategy have allowed us to significantly increase our sales compared to last year. Sales in the UK now account for 75% of our total online sales.
“With this growth, we are hiring four new staff members and deploying POS systems across our retail stores to keep up with increased online demand.
“It integrates directly with our online store to provide a seamless customer experience.”
Ethna McNamee, Western Region Manager at Invest NI, added:
“Our two digital schemes, DSCG and MBEG, will give micro-businesses the confidence to explore the world of online selling both locally and globally so they can sustain their business and increase their export potential. I made it.”
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Posted: Sep 4, 2022 12:00