According to the report presented by Netcomm, produced in collaboration with The European House – Ambrosetti and which investigated “The role and contribution of e-commerce and digital retail to digital growth and transformation”, the value network of e-commerce ranks third among the 99 Italian economic activities for incidence on turnover of the private sector in Italy in 2019, with a weight of 19.2% on the growth in turnover of total Italian economic activities. Moreover, in the same year, the web had a profound impact on the employment growth of Italian companies, contributing 6.7% of the total. The sector connected to online purchases in Italy in 2020 generates an increase in revenues of 3.5 billion euro (+6.3% compared to 2019, a much more contained trend than the average rate of +18% in the last 5 years). Furthermore, e-commerce has been one of the sectors that has increased its relative weight on the total turnover of Italian companies with a growth of 19.2%.
A success that SEMrush, the Saas platform that manages online visibility, also found internationally when collecting and analysing data relating to over 2,000 e-commerce websites.
From early 2020 to October of the same year, online store searches steadily increased every month, with an average of 36% for all product sectors. The largest increase compared to the previous month occurred in March, with the start of the lockdown, which roughly doubled volumes.
About 70% of users connected from smartphones, already knowing where to buy. A figure that is particularly indicative of the role that the brand plays and the importance of a solid reputation for retaining customers in online shopping.
All these data confirm how much the digitalisation of commerce is profoundly changing the panorama of distribution.
Another example: the H&M group has achieved such an online boom that it declared itself convinced to cut (about 180) stores in 2021. Digital sales increased by 28% in the third quarter of 2020, and grew by 34% in nine months, thus accounting for 26% of the group’s total sales.
Also, Stefano Portu, CEO and founder of ShopFully, highlights the changes: “The retail sector is experiencing a moment of epochal change: in these passed months, we have seen digitisation already underway for some time accelerating strongly, while the smartphone is assuming a key role to accompany the consumer to the store. This revolution in the strategies of Italian and international retailers shows no signs of slowing down: both consumers and retailers confirm that they have chosen the smartphone as the first channel of relationship and communication, overcoming even traditional means”.
FEDERICO MARCHETTI AND SUSTAINABLE DIGITAL
Federico Marchetti, president and CEO of Yoox-Net à porter, who spoke at the Milan Fashion Global Summit 2020, could do nothing but confirm the goodness and evolution of digitalisation.
“As e-tailer we have recently invested in the Infinity 2030 project, a new strategy that is divided into twelve commitments closely connected to the UN’s sustainable development goals. The achievement of the first objectives is expected by the end of 2020 and will represent the basis on which to carry out a change that will take place over the next decade”.
The launch of the Infinity strategy follows the sustainable collection Yoox-Net à porter for The Prince’s Foundation, the result of The Modern Artisan project. Initiative which aimed to strengthen the textile skills of young artisans in the UK and Italy to create sustainable luxury garments.
“My goal has always been to find the right combination between human creativity and technology – continued Marchetti -. We therefore put the big data collected in 20 years of activity and young artisans at the centre of the project.Data analysis and the use of artificial intelligence facilitate the reduction of waste, the conscious use of materials and the consequent longevity of the garments”.
How big are Yoox-Net à porter big data? About 4.3 million active customers, over 2 billion in turnover, 36 million perfectly archived photographs with metadata that can be consulted and interrogated with filters and analysis systems.
“We are able to provide a huge spectrum of information to creativity and thus help it to hit the right product for sale. This is how I imagine the future of fashion: sustainable, digital, and using data provided by digital. After all, we are witnessing a second digital revolution. The first involved distribution, while the one of today also impacts the development and production of fashion collections”.
What about the future of retail in general? “I’m not a digital fanatic, I don’t think stores will ever completely disappear, but for sure the future lies in omnichannel retail: being able to follow a shopper, whether he enters a store or a website. It will be an integrated experience with the customer at the centre”. It was impossible not to ask him what innovations tomorrow will bring: “The latest innovation born on Yoox is the virtual dressing room. We are at the beginning of a path to improve the application of augmented reality that will undoubtedly impact our experience in the coming years. A tool that, among other things, will be beneficial to sustainability, reducing consumer returns”. Finally, Marchetti does not refrain from suggesting some advice to companies and institutions: “Every company accumulates data: identify them and give weight to your database to improve the business model.
Two markets are doing well right now: digital and China. Crossing these two strengths will produce the perfect intersection in which to invest.
We must educate our young people to digital to provide them with a future. I believe it is essential for every young person and child to have access to a computer”.