Ecommerce is increasingly mobile in Italy. We all experience it every day, when we pick up our smartphones to check the price of this or that product, look for more information or buy it. Although the entire purchase cycle (whether it ends online or offline, the so-called omni-channel) deserves more attention than Italian companies are dedicating to them, when we talk about mobile e-commerce we only talk about a part, that is, all those transactions that end online.
M-commerce numbers in Italy.
Numbers are dizzying numbers. Smartphone e-commerce, m-commerce, in Italy in 2014 is worth 1.2 billion euros, or 9% of the total ecommerce B2C, twice as much as in 2013 and four times as much as in 2012. Figures to be dizzying even for ecommerce. If you add to these the purchases from Tablet, the value of e-commerce from smartphones and tablets reaches 20% of the total. You can discuss whether tablets should be considered mobile devices or substitutes for computers, but you still think – I prefer the second – the fact is that they offer user experiences much more similar to a smartphone than a computer as we are used to know: the user who uses a tablet expects to find apps, different from those for smartphones, and websites optimized for a touch screen larger than that of their mobile phone.
What (not) to do
I have already mentioned in a previous post the risk that ecommerce represents for Italian PMI. For companies that are already online and active in e-commerce, it is very important to understand how to reach the 16 million Italian users who buy online. It is therefore essential to think of your online presence not as a website but as a multiplicity of channels through which you can reach your consumers through corporate properties – website, strictly responsive or in different versions optimized primarily for smartphones and tablets – as well as external equity. And it is precisely the latter that represent for almost all companies the most effective way to reach scale. If having a website, perhaps that also offers the possibility of doing e-commerce by increasing the operating margins for transactions that take place on your site, today is something essential for any company, the difficulty for the entrepreneur is to give this channel a significant size of their business, bringing traffic on their site (and then persuading these users to buy). In concrete terms, this means very often taking on new profiles in your staff that can bring the digital skills that are difficult to find in the company. This is certainly difficult to start for those who do not have a strong business and funds to draw on, especially in a complex economic period like the one that Italian companies are experiencing in recent years. And companies that manage to insert new resources are then faced with the challenge of allocating financial resources for investments in advertising, which will have to be maintained over time.
International marketplaces, such as eBay, and national marketplaces offer help in this respect. These companies are in fact online shopping centers where the entrepreneur can open a store benefiting from the traffic of users passing through the shopping center and a solid and advanced technological infrastructure. These companies very often earn mainly from a commission on sales, a guarantee that they will strive to maximize the purchases of their users (and therefore the sales of companies that open a store). It does not mean that everything becomes simple and that companies that have an active presence on the marketplace can wait for sales to arrive alone, but they offer a starting point certainly advantage. It is certainly easier to start a business in a crowded shopping centre than in a small shop on the outskirts where there is not much pedestrianization. The marketplaces offer a cost-effective way to reach the millions of Italian users who buy from smartphones and tablets, as well as those who buy from the desktop, avoiding the need for PMI to create apps that then their users will have to download and use or mobile websites that they will have to visit frequently and to which they gain loyalty.
Italian m-commerce from smartphones and tablets already represents 20% of e-commerce and continues to grow: it cannot be underestimated.