User Experience and Conversion in Italy
With a population of 37.7m people online, the Italian market is an interesting proposition for expansion, mainly considering its recent growth and the massive presence of Italians on social media. As a nation, Italy is paying attention to what happens online and a large amount of activities and services are going digital.
Website structure and trust seals
As ecommerce is at a relatively early stage of development in Italy compared to other countries, users still show some reticence; they are much pickier and take advantage of offered services only if they think they can trust the source. One of the elements strongly affecting an Italian user’s perception is the way the web page is structured and its clarity.
Websites need to be correctly translated, and fully localised for cultural context. For instance, an Italian would instantly see a lack of authenticity if the word “bolognaise” was used instead of bolognese on a website offering Italian food. Similarly, a lack of consistency in the way the user is addressed, such as formal vs informal, or singular vs plural, would likely result in a user moving away from the site.
The Italian postal address structure also differs to that of the UK, as street name and house number are used rather than postcodes. This information can then be considered for the “Find My Address” functionality in the checkout process. It’s also important to be aware of that the thousand separator is a dot not a comma (10,000 > 10.000) or that the currency symbol follows the value, rather than precedes it as in the UK. These basic issues would undermine a site’s conversion rate, even if the overall website was well presented.
Italian customers seem to appreciate text heavy pages, rather than overuse of images: the latter option is perceived as an indicator of low reliability unless it’s a product page, which requires a significant number of images. Italian users equate information with trust, which in turn leads to greater satisfaction, enjoyment of the site and likelihood of purchase. Most users turn to the internet primarily to look for information and compare products and brands before purchasing anything. However, when it comes to entering personal data and information, Italians prefer simple forms that do not require a complex, drawn out process.
Trust seals are not very common in Italy compared to other European countries, with Italians relying more on SSL encryptions to reassure them about secure online payments and transactions.
Since the use of mobile tools is growing in Italy (currently 20% of total ecommerce), it is important for a website to have a properly working user-friendly mobile interface. This means ensuring that the loading speed and responsiveness do not affect the online experience.
Although Italians have always preferred paying in cash, online payment methods are becoming more widespread. Since pre-paid cards are perceived as safer payment methods they are more common, followed by CartaSi and PostePay cards which operate simultaneously as both credit and prepaid cards. The most common credit cards are Visa and Mastercard, covering 83% of online payment methods, while PayPal and American Express respectively account for 13% and 4%.
Online data protection
Data privacy is essential for Italian users, especially when it comes to a virtual platform. Here is a snippet of Italian online privacy protection law:
“The service provider must preliminarily inform the data subject, either orally or in writing, as to the purposes and modalities of the data processing; the obligatory or voluntary nature of providing the requested data; the consequences if he or she fails to reply; the entities or category of entities to whom or which the data may be communicated, and the scope of dissemination of said data; his or her rights; the identification data concerning the data controller; and, where designated, the data controller’s representative in the State’s territory and the data processor”. If, when entering their data, users did not find any requests regarding the consent for their data use, accompanied by information about who will have access to those specific data, user trust would be undermined they would leave the website.
Brands need to request consent to use their customer data, accompanied by information about who will have access to the data. If not then user trust would be undermined and they would leave the website.
The presence of videos on websites, showing consumers the products they sell, alongside choosing the date and time they will receive the product enhances the conversion rate of purchases. In terms of delivery, the most common method is home delivery, although 42% of companies offer store collection options. Recent research shows that free delivery is often a factor in the decision to purchase online or not, while same day delivery is still only a niche option in Italy.
Above all, an easy purchasing process (and therefore site usability), the guarantee of after-sales customer care and the chance of retrieving products after a missed delivery slot are all elements affecting Italian users’ inclination to buy online.
PPC, SEO and social media are key channels for digital marketing in Italy. Therefore all social media accounts should be presented and localised for an Italian audience.
If you have any other questions about Italian website translation, please contact us.