Italy and its developing online businesses during the Covid Pandemic

Covid -19 ravaged Italy in a way that was unexpected like so many countries throughout the world. The country registered its first mortality on February 21st 2020. However, Italy has less cases now compared with other countries such as France who are hitting the second wave which is increasing exponentially. Experts largely point to the success of keeping this contained due to a severe and lengthy lockdown, combined with a collective trauma.

“The epidemic hit Italy earlier… and it immediately put in place a very tough containment plan,” Professor Massimo Andreoni, an infectious disease expert at Rome’s Tor Vergata hospital, told AFP.

Due to this containment where Italians were limited to their homes and to only go out for urgent shopping, new online companies started to pop- up all over Italy with the rise of use of online services. Culturally and traditionally, Italians have shopped locally not only to go “shopping” but also to enjoy the experience of shopping and going out for a coffee or ice cream and to have interactive discussions about the product to be purchased.

Covid 19 put a stop to this experience for a limited amount of time. This time was enough to start to change attitudes towards online shopping as this was the easiest way to purchase and get those purchases sent directly without having to go out. Technology and attitudes are now evolving in Italy in such a way as to enable customers and Amazon has found its way into Italy.

Italy is opening up to the e-commerce world

Amazon has been one of the biggest winners in the pandemic and Italy is no exception since the majority of retailers closed down during the lockdown and people tried to find ways to purchase everyday essentials such as toilet paper and face cream. Amazon plans to open two new fulfilment centres and seven delivery stations in Italy by the end of the year.  According to the New York Times  (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/26/technology/amazon-coronavirus-pandemic.html) the change is here to stay according to Ipsos in Milan.

These behavioural changes also have had an impact on traditional businesses in Italy where once they would have enjoyed a personal approach to sales they have had to rethink the way in which they trade. Amazon’s foothold on the Italian market has opened up e-commerce to those that had previously not even thought about the possibility of selling their product outside of their towns. Italian entrepreneurs are looking at selling their “local” produce internationally which increases turnover when their local environment is restricted due to the pandemic.

This is a good time to start setting up a business to sell into Italy if you have a product that can be sent direct as it sounds as if culturally and practically Italy is opening up to the e-commerce world.

This is also a good time to sell internationally through e-commerce as all countries are in the same position and are having to adapt to the new “normal”.

If you are going to look at e-commerce then you will also need to be aware of cross border VAT issues regarding where shipments are being held and distance selling thresholds. For further information visit www.getvatsupport.co.uk  or contact us.

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