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What is the state of e-commerce in Italy?

We asked it to Netccomm, the Consortium of Digital Commerce in Italy

What is the state of e-commerce in Italy? We asked it to Netccomm, the Consortium of Digital Commerce in Italy

Although the world is gradually returning to pre-pandemic rhythms, it is undeniable that the past three years of shutdowns and fake restarts have radically changed our lifestyles, through transformations that persist even now that 'normality' seems more at hand than ever. Among the sectors "that will never go back" after the evolutions undergone during the months of isolation, there is certainly e-commerce, which, like everything that concerns the digital sphere, has experienced exponential and unprecedented growth and, at least so far, without setbacks. A sector in continuous evolution and closely connected to our life habits, which, as Roberto Liscia, President of Netcomm, the Consortium of Digital Commerce in Italy, revealed to us, has made "an evolutionary leap of 10 years", first out of necessity, then out of habit. By now, «the opposition between physical and digital is only a theoretical concept. Now that 53% of Italian digital consumers would like even traditional neighborhood shops to adopt new forms of sales by integrating e-commerce and digital payments, it has become essential for retailers to be 'present' when, where and how the customer wants them to be.» So what is the status of Italian e-commerce? To help us answer that question, we interviewed leading experts in the field.

At a time of social and economic upheaval, Netcomm is investigating how business models are adapting to new consumer habits: from the Metaverse to sustainability, from artificial intelligence to the cookie gate, and is also organizing an annual event in Italy for 17,000 digital professionals, with 3 conferences and over 150 workshops focusing on new scenarios and emerging trends in the digital world. An event whose main purpose is also and above all to educate, companies and entrepreneurs, in order to remain competitive. «In fact, according to DESI 2021 data on the digitalization of businesses, Italy is in 10th place compared to other European countries, still weak with respect to the spread of e-commerce (9% of businesses in Italy vs 12% in the EU); the use of ICT for environmental sustainability (60% vs 66%); big data (used by 9% of Italian businesses compared to an EU average of 14%) and artificial intelligence (18% vs 25%).» Sustainability, understood in its various facets, is perhaps the theme that has accompanied the digital evolution the most, or at least the theme that is dearest to Italians, given that «47% of them expect companies to innovate and implement all aspects of the process of producing and purchasing a product online with a view to sustainability.» Players in the digital market are therefore called upon to question every area of the supply chain, «not only in the choice of materials and production, but also in delivery and shipping methods, with increasing attention to the surrounding environment, and packaging, using recycled materials with reduced environmental impact.» Eco-friendly delivery methods, the use of sustainable packaging, attention to food waste through innovative services to give new life to products that are about to expire, but also the use of digital channels to give a voice to small producers and support the minor realities of our country: sustainable solutions are constantly growing.

Among the most controversial issues is certainly the data discourse, which, between the accusations made against Facebook and the debate on cookies, has become a topic of debate, especially in terms of transparency and consent. On the one hand, companies feel an increasingly urgent need to have more and more accurate data and feedback on each user, in order to guarantee a high-performance and personalized experience on the platform, while on the other hand there is the scepticism and resistance of costumers to giving their consent to the use of that same data. «This is the increasingly challenging environment in which online businesses find themselves.»In this regard, the hypothetical advent of Web 3 could play an unexpected and crucial role: according to Liscia«the concrete implementation of technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence will undoubtedly increase the security of user data and the competitiveness of businesses. Blockchain and artificial intelligence in fact allow traceability in the production system, thanks to the connection of information that companies themselves can enjoy, facilitating for example the creation of digital districts to increase their competitiveness on national and international markets. These technologies are driving change in organizational processes and skills, not only for brands and companies, but in every sector, from commerce to tourism, from health to education.» The future of e-commerce, between sustainability and new technologies, concerns us all much more than we think.