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Internet Auctions Gain Momentum in Brazil

Brazilian companies ItautecShop Virtual, Martelo.com and Casa dos Leilões all run online auctions, and while Brazilian site figures are still low, the companies are very optimistic about the future. The Itautec site was the first to start online auctions in Brazil. According to Elaine Miguel Rodrigues, manager at ItautecShop Virtual, auctions are a great way to attract traffic to the site and create a user loyalty base.

"We use auctions to sell second hand machines in markets and shows, or to get rid of stocks," says Rodrigues.

The Martelo.com site initially only sold tourism programs, but has since opened 17 other categories.

"We get a percentage over what we sell through the site. We expect to reach a monthly revenue of R$10,000 (US$5,800) before mid '99, for R$150,000 (US$88,000) in sales," says Washington Cunha, marketing director at Martelo.com. According to Cunha, the main hindrance for Martelo.com's growth will be companies that make the products available for the auctions.

"There is a serious lack of information about e-commerce, electronic payment systems and online auctions," says Cunha. The site now receives about 7 thousand visits and gets around 40 to 50 deals weekly, but he says that all the figures are increasing. Cunha adds that the typical auction buyer is around 29 years old, and 58 percent of them are women.

"The main goods sold to these people are tourism programs and software," says Cunha. As a whole Martelo.com offers 10 thousand items grouped in 17 categories. It uses eBay as a model site, which has an US$1 billion annual revenue and sells nearly 2 million items.

According to Sergio Lemos Torres, who runs the Casa dos Leilões site, the financial result is still higher at the live auctions than on the Internet.

"I guess in time Brazilian Internet users will get used to online auctions," says Torres, who also works with auctions in the real world. Torres says the most wanted goods at online auctions are art and oriental carpets.

"Today most of the people who look for auctions are those representing companies," says Torres. The Casa dos Leilões also runs events transmitted over satellites to Brazil. The site started about two months ago.



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