Key Takeaways from the E-commerce Partners Report 2023

The Partners of E-commerce Companies – Casaleggio Associati’s new research report, describes the market of solutions and services for e-commerce companies, mapping over 500 solutions in nine different categories.

Milan, October 2023 – Casaleggio Associati has presented the new report “The Partners of E-commerce Companies”, in collaboration with 4eCom and aimed at describing technologies and services state of the art for the e-commerce world.

“Analysing Top 5000 Italian Ecommerce sites margins, we have seen an average EBITDA ranging from 1% for toys and marketplaces to health and beauty (10%), sports (11%), and insurance (16%). What is most surprising is the large difference between minimum and maximum values. Those who do best in Toys, for example, get 14% EBITDA. Tourism is the sector where there is the greatest variance in values,”

explains CA President Davide Casaleggio,

“One factor that is making a difference is the set of sales support services that online merchants have activated. In our research, we analysed over 500 of these services and their impact on key online sales metrics.”

An e-commerce service works if all its components are synchronized with each other. At first glance, many e-commerce sites may look similar, but when comparing budgets and KPIs of companies in the same sector, the results can be completely different. Choosing services and technologies that make up an e-commerce site is therefore crucial for achieving profitability.

Unlike the early years of e-commerce, when both transaction volumes and service availability forced merchants to develop all necessary resources in-house, the current landscape offers SaaS-based and modular services that can be adapted to the specific infrastructure of each merchant. This evolution allows many operators to access sophisticated tools and services even with limited budgets and has enabled an acceleration and scalability of e-commerce business models that opens up new scenarios of international and niche competition based on knowledge of the available tools.

In the last year, Artificial Intelligence has given new impetus to the availability of services on the market that can create important competitive advantages. The objective of this first research is to explore the panorama of solutions and services available to companies working in the E-commerce sector in Italy in order to provide useful indications for choosing. The state of the art and perspectives were assessed through market analysis, interviews and surveys.

The more than 500 e-commerce services analysed were divided into nine different categories, which make up the areas of this research: Ecommerce platforms, technology partners, marketing services, advertising, payment systems, logistics and shipping, CRM and customer service, catalogue and marketplace management, with a special focus on emerging technologies and the impact of AI in the Ecommerce context.

In listening to the market from both the side of the operators and the service providers, some shared pivotal points emerged. One of these is the moment of choice of new services, i.e. the moment when operators should start looking for possible alternatives to replace or upgrade their existing service stack.

The main moments of choice are linked to the first entry into the world of e-commerce, crossing of turnover thresholds (the million euro threshold pushes many to radically change the service stack used), the decision to start selling abroad, the evolution of the business model towards the marketplace and last but not least, having to deal with service interruptions (particularly post-black Friday).

The moments of choice for the E-commerce Manager

Satisfaction with services (‘satisfactory’ + ‘completely satisfactory’) nowhere exceeds three-quarters of operators, leaving room for new entries. Among the services where operators are most reluctant to change are payments (76% average satisfaction), the e-commerce platform used (70%) and technology partners (65%).

Merchants’ dissatisfaction (‘unsatisfactory’ + ‘completely unsatisfactory’) is, on the other hand, most pronounced in Frontier Technologies (22%), where it is normal a continuous process of experimentation, and in Marketing Services (16%), in order to reach their target customers.

The cluster of merchants who are attentive to novelties, but are not necessarily looking for alternatives to current services, are mainly related to Frontier Technologies (51%), Catalogue and Marketplace Management (37%), CRM and Customer Service (33%) and Logistics and Shipping Services (30%).

Services E-commerce managers are satisfied or not satisfied with

When asked about the three services merchants are most satisfied with, the answers were very diverse with the exception of a few services mentioned repeatedly by e-commerce managers such as Stripe, Shopify, BRT, DHL, Meta and Qapla’. These are all operators that have indeed innovated a lot in recent years in their service for online sales. The real game changers, however, are not always known by everyone, and among the services mentioned are numerous plug-and-play SaaS services that can be quickly tested on the store.

Almost all operators plan to invest in new services in the next 12 months. Among the services that will receive investment beyond the ordinary operations are Ecommerce Platforms (70% indicate ‘high investment’ or ‘new investment’), Advertising Services (69%), Marketing Services (68%).

Operators are more conservative on Frontier Technologies (28% expect no investment), Payment Systems (21%) and Logistics and Shipping Systems (20%).

Assessing the motivations for seeking new providers, the need for continuous innovation emerges (Need for new services/features cited by 69% of the exhibitors, and the Need for innovation by 51%). However, there are also problems with the services currently used such as technical problems or limitations (42%), Need to reduce costs (36%), Poor support (25%) and Deterioration of service (11%).

The obstacles and major difficulties in choosing an e-commerce service or solution provider are manifold and often concern the complexity of evaluating and comparing different providers proposing different technological solutions, post-activation support and developments, but above all the lack of clarity about the services offered by companies.

The presentation event of the new report at The Westin Palace in Milan was widely attended by companies from the Ecommerce world and was attended by top managers on stage: Pablo Daniel Chief Digital Officer of Alessi, Anastasia Sfregola Senior Account Executive Shopify Plus, Loredana Fartade Country Director Italy La Redoute, Giorgio Guardigli Global Digital & E-commerce Director of Costa Crociere, Roberta Melis Business Process Manager of AgriEuro, Andrea Zagnoli Chief Customer Officer of Magnews and Marco Macari Vice President 4eCom.

Download the complete research in English here.

Casaleggio Associati designs the digital future of companies by combining management consultancy, experience and innovation. The three areas of activity of the company are Digital Research, Digital Strategy and Digital Communication.


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