The COVID-19 outbreak has altered the buying behavior of many, and Italian consumers are no exemption. The market known to splurge on the finest things in life has, understandably, became more cautious since the pandemic. From prioritizing essential purchases to shifting to brands that offer lasting value, Italian consumers have displayed prudence when buying.
Is the Glass Half-Empty or Half-Full?
For some businesses, the new trends in Italian consumers’ behavior can be a cause for concern. But the current reality can be a doorway to new possibilities. The shifts in Italian consumers’ shopping preferences may create new and expansive opportunities for foreign enterprises of all sizes.
In this blog, we will discuss why international players should continue remaining optimistic about the Italian market. We will also tackle the role that multilingual support, mainly Italian customer service, plays in regaining Italian consumers’ confidence.
5 Reasons Why You Should Take Your Brand to Italy and Invest in Italian Customer Service
Necessity sparks innovation. This sentence accurately describes how Italian consumers became more open to new ways of shopping, giving foreign brands more reasons to tap into this market. Here’s why investing in Italian customer service are a great direction to take for your business:
#1 Italians’ Online and Cross-Border Shopping Preferences Are Getting More Diverse
For the longest time, Italians have always been known to have a bias for products stamped with the words “Made in Italy.” But over the past years, a lot of Italian consumers have been opening up to international sellers online. In fact, Italy ranked second among the largest eCommerce markets in Southern Europe.
The top five products imported by Italian shoppers are from the following categories:
- Auto Parts and Accessories (29.56%)
- Fashion (11.89%)
- Home and Garden Essentials (8.39%)
- Computers, Tablets, and Networking (6.85%)
- Cell Phones and Accessories (5.22%)
International eCommerce merchants looking to make a move into the Italian market should take advantage of these opportunities and invest in Italian customer solutions. More so if they are after long-term growth. According to a survey, 92% of Italian consumers plan to continue digital shopping post-pandemic.
Here are other things that foreign players can look forward to in Italy’s eCommerce market:
- Annual growth rate of 5.58% from 2021-2025
- Projected market volume of US$ 28,611 million by 2025
- Expected internet penetration of up to 70.9% by 2022
- Anticipated number of eCommerce users of up to 40.4 million by 2025
#2 Low Competition Means Higher Revenue Potential
Italian consumers’ growing interest in digital and cross-border shopping is primarily due to the limited local supply of some products. Domestic competition in eCommerce is relatively low in the country compared to other European eCommerce destinations, such as the UK and Germany.
For foreign brands, less competition means more sales opportunities. And with Italy’s current population of more than 60 million turning to e-commerce to shop for everyday needs, there’s a great potential for market dominance. Tapping this market now and investing in Italian customer support will give you a headstart over other incoming players.
#3 Italy’s New Consumer Habits Are Favorable to New Players
As the enforcement of movement restrictions forced Italians to stay at home, most of them formed new habits and lifestyles. They have also developed indoor entertainment activities and increased digital shopping preferences.
According to Euromonitor International’s Survey, the Conservative Homebody types of consumers dominate the Italian consumers (30%). Although these consumers are price-conscious and will likely stick to essential purchases, they have a knack for trying new things.
The Conservative Homebody enjoys browsing and shopping for new products online. International businesses penetrating the Italian market for the first time can thrive in engaging this consumer type.
Since the Consumer Homebody types place orders online and are shopping for novel items, it is also essential to have Italian call center support agents available across all channels to provide support. It also helps optimize your eCommerce site with detailed product descriptions, FAQs, and other crucial information.
#4 The Italian Market Has High Purchasing Power
Italy’s demographics and consumer profiles are promising for enterprises eyeing long-term sustainability. Both the country’s aging and younger generation of consumers can be profitable prospects.
Throughout the years, there has been an increase in single millennials in Italian households (31% in rural areas and 52% in urban centers). Few young Italian professionals are marrying and are having children. This demographic has high disposable incomes. They also have a ‘live for the moment’ mentality and are willing to splurge instead of saving.
Take note that this market includes the most active online buyers (25-34 years old) in Italy. They rely on the information provided on the internet, as well as social media comments and reviews, when making purchase decisions. If you want to engage this demographic better, it is crucial to provide Italian customer support on their preferred platforms.
Additionally, by 2023, Italy is expected to have a median age of 50. This estimate suggests that there will be a large population of retirees with high spending power in the country. Targeting this demographic as early as now and engaging them through Italian customer solutions will put your brand in a better position to win their loyalty.
#5 Consumer Confidence Up, As Italians Embrace the New Normal
Toward the second half of 2020, there has been a jump in consumer confidence in Italy. The recorded increase in production and export sales (+ 14.4% in June, every quarter) and imports (+16.1% every quarter) reflect optimism among businesses.
And with vaccine rollouts in place, lockdown restrictions are starting to ease in more parts of the country. Businesses can, therefore, expect more positive things on the horizon for Italy’s economy. In a survey conducted in February, more than 47% of Italian respondents said they plan to splurge in 2021 as a way to reward themselves.
Why Is Language Crucial in Italian Customer Service?
Businesses should pursue any opportunity to gain a competitive advantage in a highly saturated global market. In this case, stakeholders should not underestimate the crucial role that language plays in customer service.
Here are some reasons why you should enhance your Italian customer service solutions with multilingual support:
Language Affects Customer Experience
In today’s highly competitive and globalized business arena, brands are set apart by customer experience. At its simplest definition, customer experience is the consumers’ perception of your brand and the main driver for their continuous patronage of your business. And providing multilingual support has a significant role to play in this.
Picture yourself in the shoes of a potential Italian customer. You are about to purchase a product from a website, but you have one crucial question about shipping. You dial the customer service hotline but did not even push past the automated voice prompt because you don’t understand the options.
Chances are, you will hang up and look for other options—most likely, you’ll go with the one with Italian customer support. That single experience is enough for the consumer to form an overall negative perception of the brand that does not offer Italian call center support solutions.
Multi-Language Support Expands Your Market Potential
Providing multi-language support means opening yourself up to vast global opportunities. Research shows that 75% of consumers are likely to purchase from brands that offer product descriptions and customer support in their native language.
Additionally, according to a study conducted by Statista in 2020, only a quarter of the worldwide population of internet users is English speakers. That means that there are about 75% untapped potentials to serve. Surprisingly, despite such immense potential, only 19% of contact centers offer multilingual support.
For enterprises with a growth-oriented mindset, these numbers mean one thing: the opportunity to dominate an unexplored territory. Capitalize on this opportunity by investing in Italian call center support solutions or other multilingual customer services today.
Language Enhances Customer Relationship
Whether personal or professional, communication plays a significant role in the success of any relationship. Remember this if you wanted to establish a firm grip on the Italian market with 90% native language speakers.
Italians are one of, if not the most affectionate and expressive speakers in the world. They are delightful, and they love to talk! When they converse, they talk with passion. Engaging them in a lovely conversation and service, courtesy of a fluent Italian-speaking customer support advisor, is a great way to establish rapport and gain the trust and patronage of this market.
Multilingual Support Builds Brand Loyalty
One study shows that 74% of consumers are likely to be return customers of brands that offer multilingual after-sales support. This is because communication facilitates trust. Speaking your customers’ language also prevents miscommunication, which always results in customer frustration.
Let’s continue with the previously mentioned scenario. Suppose the item that you purchased from the competing brand was a consumable good. Suppose you had a pleasant experience with the Italian-speaking customer support advisor you interacted with the last time. In that case, there’s a good chance that you’ll be a repeat customer of the brand that offers Italian customer service.
Italian Customer Service That Meets Italy’s Trademark of Excellence
Although Italian consumers’ behaviors are changing, their expectations regarding the quality of Italian customer support remain high. After all, excellence has always been a trademark of Italian brands, and Italian consumers will always be accustomed to that.
So, suppose you want to propel your success in engaging Italian consumers. In that case, your best course of action is to partner with a reputable multilingual outsourcing provider for Italian call center support solutions. SuperStaff BPO is here to help you make the most out of the rewarding opportunities offered by the Italian market. Reach out to us to learn more about our expertise in Italian customer solutions.