Wine Consumption On the Up

 

Vinexpo produced an interesting infographic projecting wine consumption around the world in 2017. Both China and the USA are forecast to increase their wine consumption considerably. Brazil is another nation in which wine consumption is expected to grow healthily.

In two of the world’s great wine producing nations, France and Italy, wine consumption is predicted to fall. This is good news for wine dealers around the world as French and Italian winemakers will be looking for export customers. Some Italian wineries are already exporting a whopping 90% of what they produce so finding producers willing to export their wares won’t be a huge problem.

Italian Wine

Italian wines, as you probably already know, enjoy an excellent reputation worldwide. What you may not know is that there are plenty of other excellent wines just waiting to be discovered throughout Italy. Some of Italy’s winemakers are innovating continually and are creating new and interesting wines.

Certain areas of Italy are renown for their reds, others are famous for their white wines. However, some of the red wine producers are busily creating white wines – wines which must match the quality of their better known reds in order to maintain the reputation of the winery. There are also wineries in Italy which have been producing selections of high quality red and white wines for many years.

Beware of self-styled Italian wine gurus who claim that the wine regions of Italy well known for reds cannot produce drinkable high quality whites. The whole of Italy is capable of producing excellent quality whites and reds.

Don’t discount Italy’s rosé wines either. Nor should you forget Italy’s excellent sparkling wines. While Italy is well known for prosecco and spumante sparkling wines, other wine producers all over Italy produce sparking wines which are likely to appeal to customers around the world.

Now is an excellent time to become more familiar with Italy’s excellent and extremely varied wine offering. Start now, and your wine business will benefit from VinExpo‘s forecast 2017 boom in wine consumption.

My company can assist you in your wine search and advise you on doing business in Italy. While you may think setting up export agreements with Italian companies will be easy, more often than not, this is not the case.

If you experience problems, get in touch

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Sell Luxury Online or Miss Out

 

As a luxury dealer you will most probably be aware that the internet is where many luxury buyers are heading to make purchases. The made in Italy brand is as powerful online as it is offline.

There are lots of reasons why the world wide web makes such an ideal distribution channel for Italian luxury goods. First of all, there is no need for luxury dealers to create a bricks and mortar stores. Then there is the size of the market. Via the world wide web literally billions of customers can be reached. On top of this, price levels can be competitive compared to bricks and mortar stores owing to lower overheads. Plus, as a result of overheads being lower, margins can be higher especially if online shops are located in nations with favourable tax regimes.

Another major advantage is that online stores are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Unlike a high street store, your online luxury store never closes. And customers can buy at any time they please – they do not have to worry about getting to the shop before closing time.

Other advantages include potential savings on training and on providing “work wear” for bricks and mortar store shop assistants.

Selling Luxury Online

You may, however, need to set up a customer services section especially when dealing with higher end luxury products. Even this is possible via the internet. At times, customers do like to be able to interact with ‘real’ people. Indeed, a good customer service experience can add value to your business and can help develop repeat business.

Online luxury is not all a bed of roses though. A lot of thought needs to be given to the web experience you want to offer to your customers. To an extent, however, you can learn how to create a good web experience by analysing your competitors. The features your competitors use can also be incorporated into to your own web site. But don’t forget to ask for feedback from your customers. This can be done via on or offline questionnaires and surveys. Questions can also be asked via a blog and blogs can add to the overall experience as well as providing customers with an added benefit and a way for your company to engage with customers.

If you already own a chain of luxury outlets selling Italian luxury goods, a web presence can enhance your business.

Imagine a customer who visits your store one day but does not have the time to complete a purchase. Perhaps because your outlet is within an airport and the customer has a flight to catch. With an online store, the customer could purchase the goods he or she wants whenever he or she wants. Internet usage aboard aeroplanes is growing so customers could make a purchase while flying to their next destination. Such purchasers will be very happy to find their goods waiting for them when they arrive home. Or why not arrange for their order to be delivered to hotels or even places of work? Customer satisfaction levels would be sky high and the chances of customers returning would increase too.

Setting up or improving your business’s online presence is well worth considering. As with regular bricks and mortar stores, though, you still need to pay attention to what you are selling and what will sell. My company can help your business identify products which will greatly increase the chances of success of your online business whether it is a stand alone or complimentary operation.

Email us to find out more: contact us

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Do You Stock Italian Luxury Lingerie?

 

Italian Luxury LingerieStylish Italian fashion-wear is as popular as ever with ladies around the world. The nation certainly has given the world some legendary fashion brands. However not all of Italy’s fashion-wear is visible.

As well as making fabulous dresses, skirts, tops, and coats to die for, Italy’s luxury industry also makes luxury undergarments. One such manufacturer is La Perla which is opening a new luxury store in Atlanta in the United States. Lingerie ads are sure to follow.

Dealers in Italian luxury women’s wear looking to diversify their businesses should consider adding a line of Italian luxury lingerie to their outlets.

The demand for lingerie is not as seasonal as it is for clothing in general which means it can be a year-round seller. Prices are not low, either. While Items of everyday Italian lingerie can cost upwards of $200, luxury lingerie can sell for between $400 and €1,500. The work of bespoke Italian luxury lingerie makers can sell for far more.

When ladies are looking for new dresses or other clothes, they are often keen to ensure what goes under the clothes enhances the overall look. Well trained sales staff can, of course, mention that a particular item of lingerie will help ensure a certain dress or skirt will always look the way the customer wants it to.

A potentially lucrative opportunity for luxury lingerie exists in the wedding market. Brides to be will want to be certain that they look good on their wedding nights. Doting mothers will also be keen to ensure their daughters look their best too. To cater for this demand, dealers in luxury wedding gowns could also stock a complimentary range of Italian luxury lingerie.

For enterprising luxury dealers, opportunities exist in Italy’s luxury lingerie market. In depth market research could be interesting too, gentlemen.

 

Contact us to learn more!

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A Luxury Business Opportunity – Fragrant Italy’s Fine Perfumes

 

Italy's Luxury PerfumesAs well as all the other luxury products Italy offers, Italy’s also produces fine luxury perfumes. If your luxury retail business is not selling them, then perhaps it should.

 

One Italian maker of fine fragrances is Profumum but there are plenty of others. A way to discover Italy’s perfume industry is to visit a trade fair such as Pitti Fragranze. Or else you could spend an awful lot of time searching for perfume makers all over Italy. While such a search would no doubt be fun, it would also be extremely time consuming and expensive. There’s also the risk that after spending many weeks exploring Italy’s towns and cities, you could end up empty handed.

 

Even if you are lucky enough to come across a maker of fine perfumes in Italy, aside from the language barrier which may cause considerable problems, there’s the problem of convincing Italian perfume makers to do business with you. In common with many businesses in Italy, if you get the initial approach wrong or even if you don’t dress well, you could lose out on a potentially lucrative business opportunity.

 

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know exactly what I am talking about. I know I stress the difficulty of doing business in Italy over and over again, but, believe me, Italy can be an extremely complex nation to do business in. By engaging the services of my company, you will save time and, more importantly, money.

 

Not only can my company help you find perfume makers which produce products that will appeal to your customers, I can also ensure that your attempts to set up a working business relationship with them will work out.

 

Note that my company and I can not only help you identify perfume makers all over Italy, we can also assist you in your search for other luxury products which are made in Italy. Moreover, if you want to create your own line of made in Italy products, we can help you achieve this too.

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Luxury Brand Building with Real Estate Projects

 

Italian Design FurnitureItalian luxury goods maker Fendi has recently entered into an arrangement with a real estate developer in Miami, Florida. The expected result of this partnership is an exclusive 12-story waterfront luxury condominium building. Apartments in the new building will be fitted out with Fendi Casa Kitchens, Fendi Casa Cabinets and purchasers will have the option to include Fendi Casa decorative elements in the new luxury properties according to an article on the World Property Channel website.

 

The real estate developer entering into the arrangement with Fendi will benefit from the association of the development with luxury industry brand Fendi and Fendi itself will benefit from the profit it makes on the sales of high end luxury fittings. Sales of the luxury units are likely to experience a boost as buyers will also find the association with Fendi attractive – as both the Italian luxury goods maker and the real estate company suspect. If the project is as successful as it is hoped, then the association between Fendi and luxury real estate developers will expand globally.

 

As I have written on this blog, Italy’s luxury makers produce enough goods to literally furnish a whole house. Even luxury stoves can be found in Italy as well as just about everything else from furniture and fittings for bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms and gardens. Decorative elements from tiles to mosaics as well as exclusive Murano glass ornaments can also be sourced from Italy’s luxury makers.

 

Luxury maker Fendi knows that entering into arrangements with real estate developers is likely to prove lucrative. However, as well as the appeal to luxury buyers of properties fitted out with luxury brand items, there is another benefit for both Fendi and for real estate developers: publicity. Such luxury co-branding arrangements are likely to attract considerable press interest and this transforms into greater visibility for both luxury makers and for the real estate builders associated with them. The added visibility will help sales of the luxury residential units too. It is, potentially, a win-win situation.

 

If you are a real estate developer specialising in luxury homes, apartments, or even hotels, you might like to explore the possibility of entering into agreements with Italian luxury brands. Note that the reputation of Italian luxury is very high at a global level so making the products of Italy’s luxury makers a feature of development projects will attract buyers.

 

Can my team and I help your real estate development business enter into productive partnerships with Italy’s high endluxury makers? Yes, we can!

Contact us to learn more.

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Milan’s 2015 Expo – A Golden Opportunity for the Luxury Industry

 

The theme of the forthcoming Milan Expo 2015 is nutrition. What this means is that a huge range of Italian food will be on show, as will be Italian wines and a whole host of other food-related products and ingredients. For luxury dealers selling luxury food and drink products, I would say that a visit to the Milan Expo is essential.

 

Milan Expo 2015

 

While Italy is well known for its food and wines, not all of its foodstuffs nor wines and other beverages are as well known as they could be. At the 2015 Milan Expo, visitors will be able to discover food products created in Italy which may well be entirely new to them. Luxury dealers can either sample these foods themselves or simply stand back and observe which stands attract lots of visitors. If a certain product does attract interest then it will be worthwhile carrying out some extra research and collecting business cards so contact can be established.

 

My advice, which has already appeared on this blog several times, is not to enter into any agreements directly at trade fairs such as the Milan 2015 Expo. By doing so, you risk being tied to supply and distribution contracts with less than favourable terms. Instead, take copious notes, photographs, (iPads are very useful for this), talk to people, get names, sample the products on offer but wait until you get home before making contact with the Italian companies whose products interest you. This will potentially save you a lot of money and in turn keep profit margins higher.

 

Remember too, and as I continue to point out, that making approaches to Italian companies can be a complex process. Get the approach wrong and you may well lose out on a lucrative business relationship. So, of course, will the Italian company concerned, yet that’s how things work in Italy.

 

If you need advice on how to make the right approach, then my team and I can help. We are only an email or phone call away. You might like to get in touch with us now to learn what may be of interest to you at the Milan 2015 Expo – there will be plenty of interesting opportunities, of that you can be certain.

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A Positive Sign from Africa’s Luxury Market

 

Africa's Luxury MarketItalian luxury car maker Maserati recently reported that sales in the MEA – Middle East and Africa area – have exceeded expectations. This falls into line with my article in late 2013 on the growth of Africa’s luxury market. If Africans are now buying luxury cars like Maseratis, then they will be interested in other luxury products too.

 

Now is a good time for luxury dealers to enter the African market (Ebola affected nations excepted!) and Italy can provide luxury seeking Africans with a vast range of goods to satisfy many desires and tastes: everything from fashion to food, wine and much more.

 

As is always the case with all markets, before attempting to sell luxury goods, businesses need to know what luxury buyers want. While certain items may do very well in Europe and in Asia, they may not be so popular with African buyers.

 

Take fashion, for example. Do you know which colours and fittings will catch the eyes of African luxury buyers? Then there’s luxury foodstuffs. Certain religions may forbid the consumption of specific foods which means, logically, they won’t sell as well as they do in other nations. Being aware of the dominant religion may establish whether or not certain foods will sell. Then there are speciality products such as fine wines. On occasion, informative marketing can educate customers into selecting the wines they are likely to prefer. Of course, if customers like a certain wine, they’ll most probably want to buy it again, and again. Repeat sales are the lifeblood of businesses as are loyal customers. How does one go about building customer loyalty in African cultures? Maybe you already know, then again, perhaps you do not.

 

Africa is a fascinating market with huge growth potential and this potential will grow as the economies of more and more African countries come on stream.

 

Physically, Africa is closer to Europe than China, India or North America which means that shipping costs for Italian luxury items may be lower depending on the quality of infrastructure Lower transport costs mean greater margins and, of course, healthier profits.

 

If your business is considering dealing in Italian luxury in Africa, or perhaps it already is and is thinking about expanding its luxury products offering, then you may need some assistance. This I where my company comes in. We can help you establish what will sell in Africa and can help your business find suppliers in Italy. As I have stressed on many occasions, to develop a productive working relationship with Italian businesses, you need to pay great attention to the way in which you make your approach. Simply turning up on the doorstep of an Italian luxury goods maker is not likely to work. There are other issues too, such as counterfeiting, which you need to keep in mind. My company can help your luxury business overcome most obstacles to help ensure your venture into Africa realises its full potential.

 

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Luxury Demand in Russia to Pick Up in 2017

 

Russia Luxury Market - Made in ItalyAccording to research carried out by Italian luxury market association the Altagamma Foundation, luxury goods consumption in Russia will experience an upturn in 2017.

For the moment, consumption in Russia is unlikely to see much growth as structural fragility and the political situation in the Ukraine generate uncertainty. High inflation levels and low expected GDP growth also mean that increased consumer spending on luxury products is unlikely in Russia in the short to medium term.

Despite the gloomy outlook, it has to be borne in mind that the Russian market is the 10th biggest in the world and the 5th biggest in Europe. Hotspots for the consumption of luxury goods are the Russian capital Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Recent restrictions on online purchases from nations beyond Russia’s borders may serve to stimulate domestic consumption in the short term.

What does this all mean for luxury dealers? Well, while Russia is certainly not one of the easiest markets to operate in, there are opportunities. The Ukraine situation further complicates entry into the Russian market but should not last forever.

Dealers in Italian luxury can sell goods via e-commerce sites set up and running within Russia though the new restrictions on purchases from e-commerce sites outside Russia may dent sales of Italian luxury goods. One solution to this issue is to establish relationships with Russian e-commerce operators.

While the Russian market still offers luxury dealers potential for longer term growth, my advice for foreign businesses is to take great care when entering this market. Extremely thorough homework must be carried out and trustworthy partners need to be identified. Knowing who will turn out to be a productive, trustworthy, business partner will not be easy though.

If you would like to have a chat about the opportunities presented by the Russian luxury retail market, contact my team or myself. As well as helping you understand whether your products will sell in Russia, we can also help you identify the pitfalls so you can determine whether entering the Russian market is likely to be worth your while. We can help point you towards reliable business partners as well.

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Don’t Miss Out on M-Commerce

 

Mobile Commerce Business Opportunities M-commerce, which is short for mobile commerce, is the selling goods via the mobile internet. Shopping online via smartphones and tablets is experiencing tremendous growth according to Bizrate Insights/Forrester Research’s State of Mobile Commerce 2014 Report.

 

According to the report, M-commerce generated $50 billion in revenue in 2013 and this is forecasted to rise to $82 billion in 2014. By 2018, Bizrate Insights/Forrester Research estimates that revenue from m-commerce in the USA alone will be in the region of $46 billion: more than three times as much income as in 2013. Despite the huge growth, major retailers are not taking full advantage of the m-commerce market.

 

Businesses in the luxury sector need to think long and hard about m-commerce. Luxury consumers are just as likely as everyone else to want to shop from their tablets and smart phones. Indeed, the iconic iPad has become something a fashion accessory for the wealthy. With its ease of use, the iPad makes shopping on the move easier than ever before. This, of course, helps businesses generate sales, provided, of course, they make the m-commerce shopping experience easy and enjoyable for their customers.

 

One of the mistakes major retailers are making is attempting to transform mobile websites into tablet and smart phone apps. The transformation, alas, often leads to the creation of mobile shopping platforms which do not appeal to consumers and thus does not generate sales.

 

More and more shoppers are turning to mobile devices as a tool of choice for shopping online. In fact, Bizrate Insights/Forrester Research notes that the traditional PC is being sidelined by tablets. Also worthy of note is how emails received on mobile devices can drive sales. Indeed, the Bizrate Insights/Forrester Research report states that nearly 70% of web buyers made a purchase after having received an informative email. What this means is that both email and apps need to be well thought out to drive sales and to keep customers coming back.

 

Another interesting aspect of the Bizrate Insights/Forrester Research report is the importance of providing customers with fast in-store access to the internet. In-store internet access can help customers who are short of time, for example, find something they like in a boutique, and then locate the same item online. They can then use an app to add the product to an online shopping basket while they were still in the store. This would allow them to complete the purchase later at their leisure.

 

With complimentary on and offline shopping systems, stores can still benefit from sales. On the other hand, stores without such systems may lose sales to other businesses with a better online presence or which offer better mobile luxury shopping experiences.

 

While smartphones tend to be used to access the internet when people are out and about, when they arrive home or at work, they may well turn to the larger, more user-friendly screen of a tablet to make a purchase. Indeed, the Bizrate Insights/Forrester Research report concludes that tablets drive sales more than smartphones, though both may well be used in the purchasing process.

 

Luxury businesses wanting to exploit the growth in m-commerce sales need to consider investing in the creation of apps which work as well on smartphones as they do on tablets. If they do not, they risk either losing sales entirely, or losing them to competitors who have invested in creating mobile shopping experiences which are more customer friendly.

 

There’s lots of potential for luxury shopping sales in m-commerce – don’t miss the boat!

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Counterfeit Luxury – A Persistent Problem

 

Counterfeit LuxuryLuxury goods attract counterfeiters in the same way as honey attracts bees. In Italy, reports of huge quantities of counterfeit luxury products being seized are not uncommon, especially on the run up to summer and Christmas.

 

While counterfeiters tend to make copies of the products of big name luxury brands such as Prada and Gucci, other not so well known brands do not escape their illicit attention. Luxury dealers throughout the world who import Italian luxury goods need to be certain the goods they receive are authentic.

 

In theory it should be simple: you place an order and wait until the shipment arrives in your nation. However, in reality, things are not always as straightforward as they may seem. Certain unscrupulous companies in Italy will show buyers goods which are genuine. An order may well be placed and this is where the trouble can start. Either customs in Italy understand that the goods are not authentic and will not let them leave the country or else the shipment makes it to the destination nation only to be confiscated by customs there. Not only can this lead to complex and expensive legal problems including charges of dealing in counterfeit goods, it can also cause huge problems for businesses.

 

Just imagine if that summer collection does not arrive in time for the summer season or if those winter garments never manage to make it onto the shelves of your boutique. The damage in terms of lost profits is potentially massive. Indeed, the harm could be so serious, it could close your business which is something customs investigators could do anyway while they inspect the rest of your stock. If the press finds out your business has been caught trying to sell fake luxury goods, the reputation and image of your business could be damaged irrevocably.

 

What can you do to avoid such problems? My advice is to engage specialists to ensure goods are genuine. Not everyone is able to understand whether a Prada handbag is genuine or not and some of the fakes are very well made indeed. You can also avoid problems by ensuring you deal with companies in Italy which are not known for trading in counterfeit goods. Understanding which companies are legitimate from those which may not be is no easy task, unless, that is, either you or someone you know possesses an intimate knowledge of Italy’s luxury industry.

 

To establish the authenticity of luxury goods created in Italy, my company has been trusted by luxury dealers worldwide for many years. Indirectly, we’ve saved companies millions in potential losses by ensuring products are one hundred percent authentic.

 

Counterfeiting is a problem within the luxury sector and is likely to remain so. Keep this in mind and remain as wary now as you have ever been. If in doubt, seek assistance to ensure what you order is what you receive. Think of it as a form of insurance.

 

Managing problems relating to counterfeiting issues will be time consuming and costly. By avoiding problems, you can focus on other aspects of running your business, safe in the knowledge that you are protecting yourself, the reputation of your business, and, of course, your luxury consumers.

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Salvo Spagna

The first Italian Luxury Advisor, offers consulting and intermediary services, plus authenticity and anti-counterfeiting audits for the purchase and sale of luxury and high quality Made in Italy goods, including Fashion, Food and Furniture

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