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Tips for ecommerce companies in Italy

Every country has its own habits, rules and traditions. In Italy this is no different. When you have an ecommerce company in this Southern European country or when you want to start one, there are some things you should know. About Italian consumers, their habits, their preferred payment methods and their ideal delivery solutions. We have these tips!

Flag of ItalyThese tips are from Planet Retail and have been published on Essential Retail. The article starts with some very interesting numbers about the online retail industry over there. It forecasts that Italy’s retail market will grow by 9.1 percent. The ecommerce industry now accounts for 4.4% of all retail sales, but within the next five years this will have grown to 11.5%. This share corresponds to 46.3 billion euros that will be spent online in 2019. This is a growth rate of 192% from today. Astonishing numbers, especially when you take in account that store-based sales will only grow by 3% over the same period.

Serve the modern shopper
Malcolm Pinkerton, research director for eCommerce at Planet Retail, writes that although stores remain essential in the Italian shopping scene, they need to be rejuvenated to better serve the modern shopper. Research underwrites this, as the company’s own study found that 21% of those surveyed interacted with a retail employee equipped with a tablet to get help and view the retailer’s website.

One in four respondents said they used interactive displays and other screens in-store, while 40% had logged into a retailer’s Wi-Fi to browse the company website, research, check prices and read reviews. According to Planet Retail this is why it’s essential for Italian retailers to link their customers’ physical and digital experience of shopping with them and build solutions around the technology consumers already own.

Make your website mobile-ready
The study also shows that 63% of Italian shoppers connect to the internet via their mobiles, while 35% does this using their tablets. The latter is however the preferred device when it comes to shopping activities, such as checking prices, reading reviews and transacting. One in two tablets users uses its device for shopping activities, compared to just 36% doing this on their mobiles. This is why it’s essential to have a mobile-ready website, one that can be browsed without any problems on smartphones and tablets

Mobile shoppers are getting more and more important and this also applies in Italy. Almost half of Italian shoppers want to use their mobiles to compare prices while shopping, while a quarter wants to read their peers’ reviews and recommendations. One in three mobile consumers would like to be able to use their smartphone to order out-of-stock items in-store for home delivery.

Deliver personalized and contextualized experiences
You can try and respond to the popularity of mobile devices by having a responsive website, having user reviews hosted on several review sites and maintaining a Twitter or Facebook page, but you can do much more with this. Planet Retail’s research reveals that 45% of shoppers want to receive real-time offers while they are in-store. And what’s even more important, more than half of those surveyed (51%) said the choice of retailer is influenced by receiving personalized promotions and deals. So Italian retailers should nurture and reward loyalty: give discounts to consumers who are already in your store!

Engage in conversations and encourage social sharing
It’s no longer enough for Italian retailers to only have a website or online store running, you should do more online. Four in ten consumers take information on social media in account when they make a purchase decision, while 25% is more influenced by peer reviews and recommendations than social media. “As a retailer you need to engage in open and honest conversations with your customers, while encouraging and rewarding social sharing”, says Pinkerton.

Offer plenty of payment and delivery methods
Three in four Italian online shoppers said they would be encouraged to shop more online if it were safer to do so using card payments. Now 56% uses PayPal to shop online, while 42% uses card payments. For 68% their choice of retailer would be influenced by being able to use alternative payments, such as cash on delivery.

Home delivery is still the most popular fulfilment option in Italy, as 78% of those surveyed use it. Collecting goods is still relatively underused in Italy, with 10% using click & collect and only 6% using lockers. “Half of consumers said their choice of retailer would be influenced by the provision of convenient collection points and 46% said being offered more flexible delivery times and options would encourage them to choose a retailer.”


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