RealTime IT News

StarMedia Launches Online Store for Latin America

StarMedia Network, an Internet company focused on the Latin American market, has opened an online shopping mall for Latin Americans to buy books, music, computers, flowers, plane tickets and other items.

StarMedia shoppers can buy items, with descriptions in Spanish and Portuguese, from online computer store Cyberian Outpost, online travel agent Viajo.com, online flowershop 1-800-FLOWERS, barnesandnoble.com and online music store CDNOW.

"I am convinced (shopping online) will boom the same way it did in the United States," Fernando Espuelas, StarMedia Network chief executive, told Reuters.

He said StarMedia's efforts to offer electronic shopping as part of its broad range of Internet news, chat, Web searching and other features compared to efforts begun three years ago among Internet services targeted at U.S. customers.

"We've always seen two revenue streams for StarMedia -- advertising and e-commerce," Espuelas said.

Internet sales in Latin America are expected to rise to more than $8 billion in 2003 from $300 million in 1998, International Data Corp. estimated in a recent report.

Espuelas said the StarMedia shopping site has a partnership with SkyBox Services Inc., a Miami-based package delivery company with its own distribution network throughout the region.

"Users can track their purchases as they are delivered, and StarMedia will guarantee it will arrive," said Espuelas.