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We have our fingers on the pulse of global retail


Francesca Farina, Content Coordinator at Pentagon
31 October 2017

Italians may be renowned for their love of fashion, but when it comes to ecommerce delivery in Italy, what are local consumers’ expectations?

Happy deliveries equals happy customers

Delivery satisfaction is a strong indicator for future purchases and ongoing consumer loyalty. Italians view deliveries as an “acid test” for the trustworthiness of the entire purchasing process and item quality – so it is essential to make sure you invest in getting this area right if you want to be successful in the market.

While Italian consumers may have grown used to a relatively slow and, at times, unreliable domestic postal service, the rise of ecommerce means the demands and expectations on speed and quality of service are on the rise. Italians are seen as brand loyal, so once they find a reliable ecommerce outlet, with a smooth delivery process, they are likely to remain as a customer.

Italian delivery preferences

According to Royal Mail’s ‘Delivery Matters, 99% of Italians are likely to request purchases to be delivered to their office, and delivery to a neighbour is the preferred safe alternative to home deliveries. They also value Click and Collect options since it is seen as a reliable and secure way to receive items, without the hassle of staying at home.

All ecommerce customers demand full transparency during the shopping process, but Italian shoppers are particularly keen to be informed:

  • 96% of online shoppers want to track their goods from the point of origin to their door;
  • 37% of surveyed shoppers* in Italy would only track items that were of higher value;
  • and 86% would track every item they order if the service was available

As well as including tracking codes offering a range of shipping options is also considered highly valuable to Italian shoppers, with 81% claiming this can be the difference between a purchase and cart abandonment:

  • compared to the UK average of 46%, free delivery on all orders is expected by more than half (55%) of all Italian online shoppers, especially if the buyer is female;
  • according to 60% of online shoppers, expensive delivery charges decrease the likelihood of a purchase being made

[How important is Free delivery to consumers? 2016]

The importance of online marketplaces in Italy

Italy has a love affair with online marketplaces, with 85% of consumers using them frequently compared to only 72% of the UK average. Amazon is the most popular marketplace, with 89% of marketplace users claiming to have shopped here at least once. Others popular site include eBay at 66% and ePrice at 24%.

Marketplaces are loved for their vast range of products, efficiency, broad deliveries options, high customer care levels and promotions. Reviews also play a key part on marketplaces, with 81% of Italian online shoppers considering delivery ratings when shopping.


Work with a reliable logistics supplier

The importance of logistics in the development of a successful Italian ecommerce initiative is widely recognised. The country spans from The Alps to the middle of the Mediterranean Sea with an area of 301,338 km² (in comparison to the UK’s 242,495 km²) and ranks 21st in the World Bank Logistic Index. This composite index is the result of several factors – and, in Italy’s case, the feature that makes the country’s ranking relatively low is the score linked to local customs.

Even though European Union codes for importing apply in Italy, the country has been slow to put them into practice (due to a complex regulatory environment), meaning imports can still take time. For this reason, it is crucial to find a reliable agent, distributor, or business partner, who already has a network of relationships that will open doors in the market as well as a solid understanding of local business practices and regulations.


Italy: a growing opportunity for British brands

Italy is Europe’s fourth-largest consumer market, and while its ecommerce sector is underdeveloped in comparison to the UK (in 2016 Italian ecommerce was worth $11billion verse the UK’s $93billion) it is continuing to grow faster than the European average. The country also boasts a population of more than 60 million, and, alongside Italian, English is widely spoken, making it an excellent opportunity for British brands. Italians are generally attracted to high-quality brands from international retailers and view British products as well positioned within this category, particularly for fashion. This is proven by the fact that 50% of local buyers claim to have purchased several items from a “” website.

Locally, Italians are increasing their time online with 56% of local buyers spending more than 20 hours a week online, with three-quarters of them claiming they are buying more items from online stores. However, to cater successfully for the Italian appetite, free international returns are a must!

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