According to some SEO experts, online stores do not work. Yet according to Netcomm data (the Italian e-commerce consortium), in the last 3 months more than 16 million Italians have made purchases online (about one in four Italians). Where is the truth?
Well, first of all we need to analyze the data well. It’s not enough to set up an online store, you need to decide what you want to sell. Do you sell shoes or food? Refrigerators or books? Yes, because by analyzing things more thoroughly, it turns out that among the 16 million buyers in the last three months, as many as 20% made purchases using an app on a smartphone . This means that 20% of purchases involve digital and non-physical products. An example? Ebooks purchased on Amazon. Purchases on mobile phones grew by 289% in 2013 and further growth of 85% is expected in 2014, thus passing in two years from a value of 164 million to 1.2 billion euros. Do we still think that online stores don’t work?
The forecast of growth in sales from Italian sites throughout 2014, according to the B2C Netcomm eCommerce Observatory – Milan Polytechnic, stands at around 17%, for an estimated turnover of around 13.2 billion euros. The sectors with the highest growth compared to 2013 are: IT (+ 32%), publishing (+ 28%), grocery (+ 23%), clothing (+ 21%) and tourism (+11 %). Yes, but are we interested in growths? Without a doubt, but what interests us most is what the Italians have bought to date.
According to the CartaSi Purchasing Observatory (2012 data), 29% of purchases concern travel and transport (tickets for trains and airplanes, hotel rooms and travel packages), 19.4% concern consumer services (services for the home, recreational activities, insurance and financial services and public administration), 17.6% concerns non-food products (non-food large-scale retail trade, jewelers, stationery stores, pharmacies and health care, perfumeries, sporting goods, cine / photos and other non-food ), 14.9% concerns IT and professional services (IT shops, business and professional goods and services, office products), 10% concerns telecommunications (telephony and top-ups, internet, payTV).
To sum up: 20% of purchases involve apps on smartphones (so we are probably talking about digital services or goods), about 30% concern tourism (once again intangible goods and services), 10% relate to telecommunications (still intangible assets) ). Then there are professional services, insurance services, ebooks … in short, it would seem that online shopping is synonymous with the purchase of intangible assets. Yes, the Achilles heel of e-commerce is logistics: physical products must be shipped and shipments cost. If you buy a product worth 10 euros and you have to add another 10 euros for shipping costs, the game is no longer worth the candle. Instead, if you buy products worth more than 100 euros, things will definitely change. Does it make sense to spend 10 euros on a product that costs 400 euros (for example a mobile phone)? Yes, especially if the same product costs more in physical stores.
In conclusion: is it still convenient to open an online store? It would seem so yes. But be careful with which products you intend to sell.