The world is your market.
It’s easier than ever to expand into other markets now. For example, if you want to expand your business into Italy, you can do so with ease, at least compared to how it was decades ago.
There’s no doubt that expanding in Italy is doable now but should you do it? Is it a smart move?
Before you make your move to expand your business in Italy, there are several questions you need to answer first.
Why Invest in Italy?
This is arguably the most important question that you should ask. Why is it worth investing in Italy right now?
For starters, Italy is the 3rd largest European economy and the 8th largest in the world. With a population of more than 60 million and a per capita income of more than $30,000, Italy is really an attractive place to expand your business.
On top of those reasons, Italy also serves as a key logistics hub that connects global markets and is an important player in world manufacturing and export.
Questions Small Businesses Have to Answer Before Expanding in Italy
If you’re considering expanding into Italy, here are other questions that you should ask first:
1. Do You Have a Stable Market Demand in Italy?
Regardless of what industry you are in, you need to find out if there is a market waiting for you in Italy before you make your move. You don’t move your business there first and find out later if you have a market waiting for you.
2. Are You Prepared to Accommodate Italian Language Users?
Around 57% of customers around the world expect brands to offer information in their own language. 59% of all customers gave higher customer satisfaction scores when the support was in their own language.
What do these numbers mean?
They mean you should accommodate Italian language users. If you’re not prepared to do that, you need help from an Italian translation services provider. They will be doing more than just translation. You will need help from a company that can do localization for an Italian audience.
3. Have You Conducted Market and Competitor Research on Your Target Locale?
You need to determine the regions in Italy where you will be doing business. From there you can identify your competitors. Once you have identified who your competitors will be, you can check on what they are doing for marketing and how they are selling.
4. What Italian Regulations and Laws Do You Have to Consider?
The laws and regulations which you need to follow in Italy will depend on the nature of your business. To determine this, you may need help from a legal expert in Italy or at least someone who is familiar with Italian business laws.
5. Do You Have the Platform to Cater to Your New Audience?
Your business should have a website at this point. If it doesn’t then it’s about time that you build one for it. Now, your existing site is most likely in English, so you need to make an Italian version of it.
Don’t just use a plugin to run an English to Italian translation of the site. You should build an actual Italian version of the site.
6. Do You Have a Digital Marketing Strategy for Your Target Market?
The digital marketing that you are using for your home market might not work for your Italian audience. You need to sit down and create a digital marketing strategy that is customized for your new market.
7. What Parts of the Operations Need to Be Localized?
The most obvious ones are sales, marketing, and customer support. In case you need to establish a physical presence in Italy, that must be localized as well.
8. Are You Prepared to Change Your Products and Services?
It’s not just the marketing that needs to be localized. Your product or services too may have to be modified to fit the new Italian market. You need to determine beforehand how to do that and how much it would cost.
9. How Can You Enhance the Local Customer Experience?
Customer experience matters a lot. So, you need to enhance it in any way you can. One way that you can do that is by offering customer support in Italian. A translator can assist you with that.
10. Are You Prepared with a Brand Story and Message for Your Global Customers?
You have a brand story for your home audience but will that work for the Italian market? Most likely, you need a global brand message that will reflect your new global presence.
11. What Steps Are You Taking to Cultivating Your Relationship with Italian Users?
You need to build a connection with your Italian audience. There are several steps that you can take to achieve that. The first is to conduct your marketing in the Italian language.
By answering these 11 questions, you can determine if your small business is ready for the Italian market. Your answers will put you in the right direction for your expansion.