The penetration of internet retailing remains low in Italy compared to other Western European countries, given that some areas of the country lack a high-speed connection. While for non-grocery shopping, consumers are becoming increasingly acquainted with the channel, the same has not yet occurred for food and drink internet retailing.
Italy is comprised of many provinces and small urban areas. While retail strategies for most operators focus on large cities, there are many villages and remote areas, where physical stores have had to cease operations during the recession, leaving inhabitants without the possibility to buy on-site.
Operators of food and drink homeshopping usually visit their customers on a bi-weekly basis. Given that pack sizes are usually large and convenient, and to avoid stock outs between one visit and the next, consumers tend to make quite large purchases to stock up on what they feel they will need for several weeks.
Bofrost retained its lead of homeshopping in Italy, recording steady growth over the review period. To succeed, the company has been gradually renewing its catalogue to include products that accommodate the latest customer trends and food preferences, including organic and gluten- and lactose-free products.
After being sold by Otto Group’s Bonprix Srl to Staples Inc in December 2016, MondOffice Srl is steadily transitioning from homeshopping to internet retailing. New target customers are small-medium enterprises or private individuals that wish to complete their orders quickly and have full traceability of shipments, and are therefore more acquainted with e-commerce than with sales through catalogues.
QVC Italia Srl has a multichannel approach in the country, and operates both via homeshopping as well as internet retailing. Product selection is perceived as unique, offering products that consumers cannot find elsewhere, which makes them feel that they are buying not only a unique product, but also a brand with a story.
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