The penetration of internet retailing in Italy has proved slower than in other developed countries, with local retailing remaining firmly in the hands of physical stores and operators. Being over-exposed in the physical channel, retailers had lower resources to invest in the development of a real omnichannel approach.
One of the main issues with internet purchases for Italian customers is slow delivery times for most areas in the country. Therefore, consumers are increasing their online purchases only for those products that are difficult to find in physical stores, or that are difficult to take home, while routine purchases still lag.
There are 23 million internet retailing consumers in Italy, with 18 million of these regularly buying online. However, while 14% of them place products in their carts, 12% do not convert to actual paid for sales.
Italian retailing is comprised of many independent retailers, which have been struggling to remain open due to decreasing store traffic and consumers’ willingness to spend only on necessary items. An increasingly high number of players, however, are approaching large marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon to give greater visibility to their products on a larger scale.
In 1999, Luisa Via Roma in Florence built its first website, and in 2008, the company built an online e-commerce platform that generated exponential sales worldwide within 10 years. Italy accounts for low share of total company sales, although the domestic market is increasing.
Home improvement and gardening in Italy is comprised of a highly fragmented retailing base, with a large presence of independents. While in the physical world an aggregation of larger groups is taking place, for online, some international marketplaces are entering the competitive arena.
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