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Paving the way for new and more effective technology

IGate Technologies, a provider of office supplies, has invested in e-commerce technology to attract new customers.

‘‘It is search engine optimised so it is high up the search engine rankings. Customers are finding us and opening new accounts daily. It also opens a lot of web marketing doors for us,’’ said IGate director Paddy Richards.

One such web marketing initiative is an iPoints reward scheme for our customers.


Getting the iPoints

‘‘When they create an account online, they get 75 iPoints. Every time they order, they get more iPoints and these can be cashed in for digital cameras, hotel breaks, sat navs or other items. So far, it has worked very well,’’ said Richards.

Other online marketing activities includes mass mails, which the company sends out to new contacts.

‘‘It is time consuming, but pays off. We offer commission through an affiliate scheme, which is starting to work well. We place a link on other websites, mostly existing customers. We also use Twitter and Facebook,’’ said Richards.

Richards and IGate co-founder Stephen Rooney established the company in Dublin in late 2009 after both were made redundant.

‘‘We both had a background in business development, marketing and sales in various industries, so we put our heads together and asked, ‘What will businesses continue to spend money on for the coming years and what is their number one priority at present?’ ’’ said Rooney.

Saving customers money

‘‘The answers we found were ink and office supplies and reduced overheads, so we decided to offer a new ink and office supplies service that would save customers money.’’

Raising money to establish the venture proved challenging at the outset.
€5,000; we were made to feel like we were asking for €1 million. Our families supported us and we used our visa cards. It started to get easier once we secured credit early on from a big supplier,’’ said Richards.

IGate employs two full-time staff,two part time cold calling sales people, a part-time leaflet delivery team and a part-time local delivery person. To build on initial sales, Rooney and Richards cold called potential customers at the outset.

Reliable cold calling

‘‘We had no money for a website until January 2011, so we had to rely on old-fashioned but invaluable cold calling. This was slow at first as some companies’ staff members were not too pushed about savings and we had to get through to the proper decision maker. Once they realised the levels of savings we were offering, they switched over straight away,’’ he said.

Richards said the company’s web presence would have an important role in its future business strategy.

‘‘Our turnover is increasing every month as our business is gathering momentum with the new online store. Our expected turnover for 2011 is €500,000. We plan on hiring more staff within a few months, which will allow [us] to focus more on business development,’’ he said.

For more business news visit The Sunday Business Post