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Cayman e-business made easy

| 22/12/2014 | 8 Comments

(CNS Business): One of the problems with e-business in the Cayman Islands is the cost involved and the length of time it takes to set it up. But a new IT company makes it so easy, they say you can be up and running in 15 minutes for as little as CI $125 per month.

Cayman Aisles, run by John Bodden and Megan McLean, is designed so that retailers can sell their products through the internet via their website caymanaisles.com.

“The best way to describe it is that it’s like amazon.com but for Cayman retailers only,” McLean explained. But unlike Amazon, retailers have their own website within caymanaisles.com, which they can customize, such as change colours and add headers. “It’s like having your own devoted online store, where you can have sales or individual promotions. Buyers can also follow retailers on the website.”

It’s easy to set up a PayPal account, for example, but the problem for Cayman-based businesses is that they can’t get the money from PayPal into their Cayman bank account. To overcome this problem and enable funds to be deposited into local accounts, Cayman Aisles has secured a local payment processing gateway through ScotiaBank Cayman and a gateway company Latitude 19.

“This sets us apart from anything in Cayman right now. Retailers can create an online shop in less than 15 minutes and maintain it easily on their own,” McLean said.

There is no rental charge for the first two months for retailers with Cayman Aisles, just the 6% transaction fees, most of which goes to the bank or the gateway company, plus 30c per transaction. Afterwards, packages are between $125 and $585 per month, plus transaction fees.

The multi-market platform is just one part of Cayman Aisles. They will also help companies who want to set up their own e-commerce payment system, which includes help with the technical side as well as the legal aspects, making sure they have all the required documents, such as a refund policy, clear terms and conditions, and a shipping policy.

This whole process can be very intimidating and take up to 18 months, McLean said, but Cayman Aisles will “hold your hand” through the process and, because they have a good working relationship with Scotiabank, they can cut down the timeframe to no more than six weeks.

“This is because they already know our policies and are already familiar with our work, and they know that any servers that we use will be PCI compliant, so it cuts down on their checks and balances time,” she explained.

The cost for this whole service, which involves a lot of coding, is CI $1,000 plus $100 for the payment page if the customer already has a website or $100 per page to set up a new website.

Once this is set up, there will be a rental charge of US $80 per month to the gateway company, which will also charge slightly more than $.40 per transaction. In addition, the bank will charge around $200 a month for the merchant account plus transaction fees. And if you don’t already have a website, server fees must also be taken into account.

The gateway company offers no support, so Cayman Aisles offers a maintenance package, which is CI $118 for two hours of technical support per month or $65 per hour without a package.

Another thing that retailers don’t always think about is the cost of having IT staff to keep the website current, McLean noted. The Cayman Aisles website has inventory tracking built in, and it tracks shipping as well as orders for the retailers. Plus they offer a delivery service, which can be paid for per order, per day or per month.

“So it’s a very cheap way of setting up a business,” she pointed out. “It is our mission to bring e-commerce to the Cayman Islands in a whole new way, providing all retailers big and small equal opportunity to provide an online store for their customers to enjoy the convenience of shopping 24/7.”

As a community service, Cayman Aisles will set up a page on their site for local charities so that they can accept donations online and maintain their area for no charge, McLean said.

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Category: ICT, Local Business, Retail, Small Business, Technology

Comments (8)

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  1. Unemployed says:

    Great idea. I hope it catches on.

  2. Cayman Aisles says:

    Businesses operating on the Cayman Aisles eCommerce Platform are required to have a Trade & Business License and provide same prior to approval of their retailer account.

    • River says:

      So therefore only Businesses that have a rented location to conduct their business out of, with proof of the rental lease of that location, and that location has to be a business location – not residential, only those businesses will be able to use Cayman Aisles Ecommerce Platform, correct? In other words you can’t sell stuff out of your home/garage on this Cayman Aisles site? So you still have to pay alot of rental expense every month for a commercial retail store to be legal to use this site, being that’s the only way to get a T&B License, correct? It would be good if we could do this type of Ecommerce retail out of our home like in the USA people can do that there. So in other words this Cayman Aisles Site is only for businesses that already have their retail space in a commercial building, like it’s not for people selling from their home or garage, correct?

      • Cayman Aisles says:

        Hello River, thank you again for your comments. To the contrary you can get a Trade & Business License for a residential address, the only restriction is that there should be no coming and going of customers at the residential address and you must first obtain a letter from planning that confirms you do not require special permission from planning for your business activities. In addition, there is a CI$25 fee to submit the planning form, it takes up to 3 days to get the letter. Also, there is the option of renting warehouse space for businesses that intend to sell a lot of merchandise online. So, yes you can run an e-store in the Cayman Islands from your home using the Cayman Aisles platform.

        • Better idea says:

          If that’s the case then why use this website? Why not set up a standalone website? Or just post on a free website? Or not have a trade and business Licence at all? Individuals who sell out their home ship around the world now. Isn’t that a loophole in itself?

          • Cayman Aisles says:

            Alot of e-retailers on island have standalone carts, however they all face the same issue with proper online payment systems – this common issue is getting a local processor and bank approval. When using an overseas payment processor on your website there are numerous inconveniences; these difficulties also stand with using one of the free websites. When operating any form of business in the Cayman Islands which offers services or products, a company or individual is legally required to hold a valid Trade & Business License – that’s why you have to get one.

  3. River says:

    What about legal Trade & Business licenses for people to be able to sell and conduct business in the Cayman Islands whether in a building or on e-commerce internet websites? What are the rules and requirements of documents to join this e-commerce umbrella site “Cayman Aisles”?

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