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E-Commerce - Tips & Guidance needed

Hello everyone,

I'm excited to share that I'm planning to launch an online business selling organic soap here in Italy. I'm considering importing the soap from Canada or the United States and would love to hear any advice or experiences you might have in this area.

Specifically, I'm looking for insights on the following:

  1. Customs Procedures: What are the key steps and potential challenges in importing goods like organic soap into Italy? Are there specific customs regulations (import from US) or documentation requirements I should be aware of? Any tips on how to streamline the customs process and avoid common pitfalls would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Setting Up a Business in Italy: What are the essential steps to establishing a business in Italy, particularly for an e-commerce venture? I’m interested in learning about the necessary legal and administrative procedures, including registering the business, obtaining licenses, and any other requirements.

  3. Costs and Taxes: What are the typical costs associated with starting and running an online business in Italy? This includes initial setup costs, ongoing operational expenses, and any hidden fees I should budget for. Additionally, I need detailed information on VAT – how does it work in Italy, and what are my obligations as a business owner regarding VAT registration, collection, and reporting?

  4. Market Insights: Any advice or strategy on marketing organic products in Italy? Insights on consumer preferences, effective marketing strategies, and competitive analysis would be extremely helpful.

  5. Shipping and Logistics: Recommendations for reliable shipping partners that can handle international imports efficiently. What are the best practices for managing logistics and ensuring timely delivery to customers?
As I have recently moved to Italy, I am keen to understand the local business landscape and get things off to a smooth start. Any resources, personal experiences, or contacts that you could share would be invaluable.

Thank you so much for your help and support!

Best regards,
 
You can find most of this by Googling, so I would first do some of your own research rather than get someone on the forum to spoon-feed you information.

First, I would set up the website (with zero inventory) and see if you can make some sales.

You then worry about the above and try your best to fulfill the orders if they come in without making too much of a loss or simply cancelling them and then sorting everything out once you have proof of concept.
 
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It would be better to ask on Italian forum when it comes to Italy related questions. Keep in mind Italy is not a business friendly country with high taxes and headache !
You can start by advertising your online store on social media or using google ads, getting organic google traffic would usually require a lot of work and money.
You can also try ecommerce platforms like amazon.
If you want to make money in ecommerce you need a starting capital to invest in inventory, otherwise it will be difficult, especially if you plan on selling on amazon. I'd say at least 10k eur

If you sell medical products or products that are used on the skin like soup then make sure they meet all the european union requirements. EU and USA/Canada regulations are different.
 
It would be better to ask on Italian forum when it comes to Italy related questions. Keep in mind Italy is not a business friendly country with high taxes and headache !
You can start by advertising your online store on social media or using google ads, getting organic google traffic would usually require a lot of work and money.
You can also try ecommerce platforms like amazon.
If you want to make money in ecommerce you need a starting capital to invest in inventory, otherwise it will be difficult, especially if you plan on selling on amazon. I'd say at least 10k eur

If you sell medical products or products that are used on the skin like soup then make sure they meet all the european union requirements. EU and USA/Canada regulations are different.
Thanks for the advise, duly noted!
 

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