Social Democrats TD for Wicklow, Jennifer Whitmore has called for a widening to other small Irish businesses of the postal rates now available to small bookshops during the Covid-19 crisis.
Deputy Whitmore said:
“Very many small independent businesses, including bookshops, have had to close their shop doors in response to the lockdown and many businesses have found themselves scrambling to find a new way to do business including exploring online sales options.
“The flat rate postal fee for bookshops, devised as a collaboration between An Post and Bookselling Ireland, has allowed small independent bookshops to ‘reopen’ with an online presence. An extension of this scheme would allow many other Irish SME’s to ‘re-open’ and reach new customers at an affordable price.
“In Wicklow for example, there are a number of small businesses that would greatly benefit from this scheme. ‘Rogers Hot Nuts’ is a company based in Newtownmountkennedy that previously supplied pubs and shops but are now shifting their focus towards online sales. Their current postal charge averages about €8 per order (they absorb half, so the customer only pays approx. €4) however this can result in orders being abandoned at the checkout. If there was an An-Post provided flat-fee option similar to that available to bookshops they would absorb the entire cost and offer free delivery to customers.
“With a long roadmap for exiting the lockdown, we need to enable small business to return to operation as soon as possible. Support through this low-cost postage initiative would help Irish SMEs to reach their customers across the country at rates that make their products still affordable.
Whitmore added “I would also like to commend the work carried out by the staff of An Post during the current lockdown. They are not only providing an essential check-in service with elderly and vulnerable customers while they are in isolation, but they have been keeping households across the county entertained with postcards and the very creative Imagination Nation playbook, all of which is all helping to keep our communities connected. The collaboration between Bookselling Ireland and An-Post is just another example of how An Post are rising to the challenge of supporting our communities – in this case our business community.”
12th May 2020