One of Northern Ireland’s best-known e-commerce specialists is set to double its 14 strong workforce over the next 18 months by recruiting a range of new roles within its Belfast office.
Built for Growth Digital, formerly known as Export Technologies is recruiting creative designers, e-commerce consultants, digital marketing specialists and experienced e-commerce traders, as it significantly expands its in-house e-commerce trading, growth and strategy division.
Export Technologies had grown to a £3 million+ turnover business and was at the forefront of the Irish e-commerce industry for almost 20 years. Built for Growth Digital will continue to build on this success by managing the consultancy services of the existing client base, continuing as an authorised reseller of the highly successful IRP international online trading platform and by targeting new retailers seeking to rapidly grow their online sales and margins regardless of their e-commerce platform provider.
The newly recruited staff will work alongside the current e-commerce consultants from Export Technologies who between them have helped transform the fortunes of many successful online retailers such as Argento, Christies Direct, Newbridge Silverware, Belleek, Camping World and Magee1866.
Leanne Blair, Sales and Marketing Manager for Built for Growth Digital said, “In many ways Built for Growth Digital will be business as usual for retailers we work with as they will still continue to receive the same excellent service and support they have always enjoyed under Export Technologies.”
“As we invest in our growth we now have the ability to target a new pool of retailers that are ready to grow in the e-commerce sphere regardless of their platform provider. We have over 20 years’ experience of digital marketing and sales growth expertise that our new business model, under Built for Growth Digital, will allow us to showcase.”
The new company structure not only means a new name in the form of Built for Growth Digital, but also represents the arrival of Northern Ireland’s only full-service e-commerce agency, thanks to the unique combination of both the international online trading platform (IRP) and the e-commerce growth expertise (trading consultancy, digital marketing and creative design).
A Belfast based event management consultancy has secured contracts with international companies to bring their teams and clients to NI, and alongside this is marking its 10th year in business with a new name and rebrand.
Bespoke Business Events began a decade ago as Bespoke Northern Ireland and buoyed on by the recent rise in global confidence in the tourism sector, thanks to the success of Game of Thrones and The Open, can now count global players HBO, Now TV and Boston Consulting Global among its clients.
These significant contracts have come on the back of Bespoke opening an office in Wales in 2018, where it beat off stiff competition to become the preferred partner of Visit Wales and Visit Britain to host international VIP buyers who visit the region.
Enjoying a growing reputation in the international market, Bespoke’s expansion plans are firmly in bringing its global experience to the local market and tapping into the business events that will come from 1 billion tourists predicted to visit NI by 2020.
Working across the island of Ireland and Wales, its team of four full time staff specialise in running conferences, meetings, team building incentives and business events in the digital, manufacturing and technology sectors to name a few, as well as creating unique business trips and sales missions for both local and international companies.
Bespoke Business Events Founder and Managing Director, Melita Williams said, “The international events industry has changed dramatically over the last 10 years and keeping up with trends such as cutting-edge event technology, sustainability, wellbeing, CSR and understanding our new Millennial buyer and attendee characteristics are issues we now address daily.
“Northern Ireland has also changed massively, with the development of so many new hotels, venues and attractions. It has been great to watch the province develop into such a cultural hotspot – international companies now want to come here and the country’s leading business events company means we are more than happy to facilitate them.”
The global interest in Northern Ireland as a business tourism destination has also rubbed off on Bespoke’s local clients with many highlighting their location as part of their global sales and export strategy.
Melita Williams commented, “There is an increased sense of pride with indigenous NI companies who see their location as an extra benefit to their offering. This ties in with our goal for the next 12 months of assisting more local companies in showcasing and celebrating their brilliant achievements. Actively marketing Northern Ireland globally at major international trade shows gives us the experience and confidence to apply this to the local market.”
Brands wanting to improve interaction with social media influencers can get expert advice at a free workshop in Belfast next month. The event, How to Engage with the Influencer Generation, is on Wednesday 16 October, and is targeted at companies and professionals who want to get a better understanding of digital influencers and how best to connect with them to improve brand awareness.
Organised by Airtight Influencers, a division of Belfast based social media management agency, Airtight Creative, the workshop will also offer practical tips and advice on how to tap into this global industry forecast to be worth £8 billion by 2020.
Managing Director of Airtight Creative, Craig Blaney said, “Social influencer advertising is big business in which the top vloggers, bloggers and instagrammers can command five-figure sums from brands in exchange for product endorsements. Our agency offers a transparent platform that connects bloggers to businesses who are willing to pay to use their digital channels to increase awareness of a product or service.
“We have decided to run the workshop as we have been inundated with queries from local businesses that don’t understand the different opportunities available through digital influencers, don’t know who to contact or don’t know what is a fair rate to pay for product placement. We hope to demystify this new form of marketing as well as providing a service that connects them to the hot new social media influencers on our books.”
Places on the free workshop are limited. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register for a place or www.airtightcreative.com/influencers for more information.
Pulse PR is working with UniBaggage.com on an awareness campaign to highlight the online shipping company’s US expansion plans. Having just signed a $1 million deal with US couriers to ship customer items in and out of America to 500 new global routes, the is a significant milestone for the East Belfast operation.
Opening an office in New York to work directly with these couriers, the deal will give Uni Baggage access to hundreds of thousands of new customers who regularly ship their belongings out of the US for college, while travelling or relocating to a different country. Company owner, Paul Stewart who set up the business eight years ago while he was at university in Scotland and spending a fortune on airline costs shipping his belongings to and from his home in East Belfast said,
“We have enjoyed fantastic growth over the last 18 months and are on target to double sales thanks to this new deal which allows us to sell into countries we previously hadn’t had access to. We will be taking on an additional 5 staff in 2018/19 to manage new customers and to keep our growth on track.”
Although Uni Baggage started shipping luggage solely for students, the customer profile has evolved, which has increased business– something Mr Stewart is keen to cultivate.He said,“We initially set up the business for students as they need to move several times a year, and often travel home during Christmas or summer breaks. However, as airline prices increased, we found that more ‘frequent travellers’ who move around several times and year used Uni Baggage to ship their luggage ahead of them. We are now also finding that people are moving countries for work or family commitments and want a quick and reliable way of shipping their belongings across the world. Our service is completely online, making it very easy and affordable. Long gone are the days of the big removal trucks for long distance moves.”
Textile design company, Dúinn Designs is celebrating after winning a deal to supply its luxury Irish heritage scarves on-board all Aer Lingus flights.
Selling on every European and Transatlantic route this year, this new deal has boosted the fortunes of this fledging Irish business as profits from sales will allow owner, Bernadette McCullagh to expand her range of products, grow the marketing team and target US retailers.
Established two years ago, Dúinn Designs offers a new range of Irish contemporary patterned textiles. Inspired by myths and legends such as the Brown Bull of Cooley, historical places of interest including the Giants Causeway, Newgrange and Kilmainham Gaol, Dúinn Designs takes these well-known iconic symbols and turns them on their head to re-invigorate them into useable patterns for today.
Aer Lingus chose the best-selling SKELLIGS range to stock on-board, which is designed to highlight the contemporary site of Skellig Island. Already a UNESCO World Heritage site, this tourist haven has further grown in popularity after the last Star Wars The Last Jedi movie, having been filmed there.
Bernadette McCullagh says, “Getting on-board with Aer Lingus has given me massive brand exposure and a truly global platform. It’s great to have an opportunity to showcase my scarves to such a broad range of customers and let them see a modern representation of Ireland, rather than the traditional ‘touristy’ view many Irish designers seem to highlight.
“Thanks to the Star Wars movie my sales have shot up and we are selling around 200 units per month, which is a good target for a business the size of mine. I am still pushing for more retailers and currently have 25 retail outlets across Ireland. There is a limited stock available on-board so it’s always a bonus when passengers contact me after for another colour or an additional purchase from the homewear range for their friend or family member.”The range also includes cotton aprons, over gloves tea towels. Buy direct at www.duinndesigns.com, and from 25 design-led retailers across Ireland.
Fashion retailer DV8, which has more than 40 stores across Ireland, including a flagship store in Belfast city centre has signed a deal with Export Technologies to move its online operation www.DV8Fashion.com to Export’s e-commerce platform, the IRP. The deal will see DV8 invest £1.5 million over the next 2 years on warehousing and technology as well as hiring several new staff.
The IRP has transacted more than £1 billion online for UK and Irish retailers and since moving to the platform, DV8 is already reaping the benefits. The company is seeing a 50 per cent uplift in online sales compared to the same period last year. Top selling countries for the retailer include Australia and the States.
DV8 offers a portfolio of the world’s best fashion retail brands for customers aged 18-40 years, and is successful with ‘Bedroom Brands’ inspired by reality TV stars and also wardrobe staples from Superdry, Calvin Klein and Vans.
Neville McDowell from DV8 said, “We made the move the IRP to create a more streamlined link between our bricks and mortar stores and online offering. We also have a massive international opportunity and the IRP platform is helping us reach global markets. In addition, the IRP analytics offers an intelligent approach to selling that uses artificial intelligence to monitor ‘lost’ sales, thus giving us the chance to reduce this gap so we can significantly increase our sales.”
James Cave from Export Technologies said, “DV8 is an excellent example of a multichannel retailer that has the ability to target an international audience. Although fashion is a notoriously competitive sector, we have the in-house knowledge to support the DV8 team, and coupled with the world-class capabilities of the IRP platform, we know we can make the partnership work long-term.”