We often wonder how many Italian artisans will survive the e-commerce revolution given that only 5% of them sells online. The clientele of luxury made in Italy items, a market worth €20 billion, is a global elite, who loves beauty and wants to stand out by purchasing unique items, hidden treasures that can only be discovered by visiting the little shops in Florence, Positano, Ravello and so on. At the same time, these customers are evermore digital, very likely to rely on online recommendations and expect good service when returning a product. In 2015, the share of luxury goods sales online reached 7%, doubling compared to 2012, with a projected increase to 18% in 10 years.
The founders of the Italianology.com online marketplace with locations in the US and Europe, are well aware of these trends. Their objective is to become the online reference point for both demand and supply of high quality Italian craftsmanship.
“Italian artisans are like Ferraris with small wheels, when they try to accelerate they fail to reach their full potential,” says Arturo Di Pietro, this startup’s CEO, “Our craftsmen are the best in the world, highly specialized, creative and innovative, yet they struggle to achieve a decent online presence because they lack any digital knowledge. As a result, they can’t embrace the enormous growth prospects offered by global e-commerce.”
Italianology is a startup created by Arturo Di Pietro, who lives in Los Angeles, Ezio Stocco, the General Manager located in Italy, and four other partners who share a common objective: unite under one brand the best Italian craftsmen and become the main online marketplace for “Made in Italy” enthusiasts.
In view of its official launch, this portal already offers a selection of over 2,000 high-quality craft items linked to the Italian aesthetic, cultural and regional traditions.
What sets this startup apart from sites like Amazon or Etsy, is its aesthetic filter. In fact, it actively scouts the best handmade creations in Furnishing, Home Decor, Jewelry, Art and Fashion through a team of over 30 area managers who travel throughout Italy looking for hidden gems.
Since bringing small Italian companies, artists and craftsmen online is far from easy, due to cultural and economic reasons, Italianology offers a very simple, proprietary onboarding system. It does not charge any upfront costs, only a commission after the sale. This method, combined with inspiring storytelling as well as orders’ management, are creating a lively buzz among Italian artisans, stimulating their organic enrollment.
Additionally, some of the founders have years of experience in the field of logistics at multinational companies in Italy and in the U.S. This seems to be an increasingly important factor among e-commerce sites, since the decision to buy online is progressively influenced by the terms and costs of shipping and handling. Logistics knowledge cannot be “improvised”, and Italianology intends to rise above the fray in this area.
“The luxury market offers enormous opportunities for our creative people and we want to showcase the best, most unique goods, and make them visible and desirable online via digital strategies and the right communication approach highlighting both the products and, especially, the Italian artisans,” concludes Di Pietro.