In the latest instalment of ProfileTree’s Business Leader series, we catch up with AirPOS CEO Martin Neill for some industry-leading advice into the benefits of e-commerce for small businesses. The interview features top tips on e-commerce solutions for businesses both online and in shop fronts, as well as some insights into Neill’s own career journey and business background.
As the latest participant in ProfileTree’s Business Leader series, Martin Neill’s insights join a large project which was recently celebrated at the inaugural Irish Content Marketing Awards with Best Content Marketing Awards for a Video Series. Advice from the ecommerce expert can now be accessed via the Business Leader YouTube channel, which now features top tips from sectoral leaders in real estate, marketing, tourism, hospitality and more.
AirPOS (Air Point of Sale) offers complete e-commerce solutions, allowing travelling customers to track their sales and sell to customers on-the-move. The innovative business also allows its customers to register 10,000 products in under an hour, with the capability to sell to the world immediately via a system which is totally synchronised with in-store inventories.
Established in 2009 and operating in 16 countries across the world, the company has grown rapidly over recent years with 13 members of full-time staff and a raft of successful investment rounds. According to Martin Neill, there is no great secret to growing a business. Indeed, the CEO recommends that the key is “to just do stuff, to do as much as you can, and see where that takes you”. Whilst posing its challenges, Neill’s entrepreneurial journey has been “fun all the way.”
Neill’s professional career started in journalism before making his departure into the world of tech. However, those two disciplines went hand-in-hand. Developments in technology created attractive interfaces for creating websites, and publishing his own content on these platforms represented a natural progression. “In our infancy, a lot of companies were naive. I think now, twenty years down the line, the tools that were beyond the reach of small businesses are now readily available.”
Whilst there have been considerable developments in the ecommerce sector, Neill admits that the concept remains a mystery to many businesses. “You wouldn’t open a shop and not put a front door on it. It’s simple stuff – you have a 24 hour salesperson, and if you do it right the opportunities are there. It can be a highly effective sales channel in this regard,” claims the CEO.
Looking towards some of the key players in ecommerce, Neill looks towards big names such as eBay and Amazon. “If you can sell on eBay, that’s great; if you can sell on Amazon, that’s great. However, you should know what you are getting into – these platforms will promote their own products every step of the way. You will see Amazon’s own products first on their homepage, and this is really well done,” continues Neill. This points towards a major benefit of AirPOS, where businesses sell their own products before those of a “retail behemoth”.
According to Neil, convenience leads the way in modern business: “If you can’t sell at 8am, or 8pm, then you simply aren’t in the game. It’s about giving your customers what they expect – otherwise, they will simply opt for those larger players such as eBay and Amazon”. Looking back to his own memories running a record shop, Neill insists that if this were available to him then, he would’ve jumped on the opportunity. “I would open it before I open the shop,” he adds.
“What we are really trying to create with AirPoS is a retail management system. It will manage the inventory in your shop and allow you to sell on-the-go. That’s what we are striving to do, and it’s a big undertaking,” shares Neill. The real challenge facing AirPoS is established cultures in retail that have been slow to innovate around ecommerce. Changing the culture of business is an essential in embracing positive change. According to the CEO, companies who are unwilling to evolve will face significant obstacles to growth in the very-near future.
To hear Martin Neill’s full interview, check out the video above. More information about the benefits of e-commerce can be accessed via ProfileTree’s blog, featuring pieces on building a Wix ecommerce site, building a Squarespace ecommerce site and more.
ProfileTree are an award-winning, Belfast-based agency specialising in web design, digital marketing and content marketing. To enquire about participating in the Business Leader series, get in touch with the team today.