Derry 2.0 - Software firm taking on e-commerce market

It may seem like the world of e-commerce is an increasingly mature space but it is still surprisingly segmented.

Almost every marketplace, from Amazon to EBay, has its own listings policies and proprietary formats, making the life of an independent online retailer a complicated one.

Stepping into the breach are sites like SellerExpress, developed locally by Derry-based Lucid Interactive, which provide centralised platforms from which online retailers can manage their listings, and stock levels, across numerous marketplaces – in this instance Play.com and the various Amazon marketplaces.

A single dashboard allows for bulk uploads across multiple sites and rapid data entry based on product barcode or ISBN numbers. The site also allows retailers to ‘auto reprice’, ensuring that they maintain the highest possible margins while still shifting their stock.

It’s probably not the sexiest industry to play in but where there’s customer pain, there’s potential profits and Lucid have already built a successful business serving this marketplace. There’s a good chance that they’ll be on the lookout for new staff shortly to help grow their team, so definitely one to keep an eye on.

Site: www.sellerexpress.com and www.lucidltd.com

Graduates: what to do when you don’t have experience

At this time of year, newly-minted graduates are busy doing the rounds of potential employers (at least they should be) in an attempt to land their first ‘real job’. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of them and many employers are on the hunt for experienced staff.

Which obviously begs the question; how do you get experience when you need experience to get a job in the first place?

Here are a few tips for getting that first break in your chosen industry:

Be Proactive: A lot of the better digital jobs don’t get advertised - at least not in the papers. You need to be proactive. Keep a regular eye on the websites and social media profiles of companies that you might be interested in working for. They’ll often post opportunities there first. You should also forward your CV and portfolio directly to these companies. Even if they’re not actively looking for new staff, the best companies often collect talent and then find the right job for them later down the line.

Work Freelance: A simple website, business name and a bank account are all you really need to get started as a freelancer. Start building your commercial portfolio with real live projects. You might even find that you like it so much, you never worry about getting a ‘real job’. But if a full-time salary is what you’re after, try targeting likely employers with your freelancing skills and see if you can turn that into something full time.

Get Up to Speed: Make sure that you’re fully up-to-speed with the latest trends and technologies in your industry, if this means more study (DIY style) then do it.

Work for Free: Unpaid internships often have a funny way of turning into paid jobs.

Network: Go to relevant industry events and meetups. It’s not just a mater of ‘who you know’ but also about demonstrating your interest in, and enthusiasm for, the work.

Start a Company: You’ll never find a better or cheaper time to start a business - and there are plenty of people keen to help. Contact digitalderry@gmail.com for starters.

Perhaps most importantly, keep yourself involved in your chosen industry in any way that you can. Even if you need to take on another job outside your chosen field to make ends meet, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t been working on sideline projects, picking up freelancing gigs and generally getting your face known in the industry. It’s a decision that’s firmly in your hands.

Mark Nagurski is Derry’s Digital Champion, based at the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce. You can contact him by email to digitalderry@gmail.com or by visiting www.digitalderry.org