RealTime IT News

Net Shopping Kicks Off in Italy

Italy's first national Internet shopping network kicked off today at Smau, the country's annual technology and telecommunications fair, which runs through Oct. 26 in Milan.

Magellano E-Shop offers over 150 products, representing 50 different manufacturers. Though offering a wide range of products, E-Shop's primary line consists of computer software and hardware. All purchases are made through major credit cards, using the Telepay electronic system. Organizers have partnered with United Parcel Service for merchandise delivery.

"Initially," said Enore Deotto, president of Smau, "this joint venture will be operated as an experiment in connection with the fair. Products, for the most part, are those of technology partners. Our goal is to demonstrate the ease and mechanics of online shopping in an attempt to expand its use in Italy."

Transforming the Italian population from a culture of traditional shoppers to one of Web browsing buyers will not be easy.

"We know that the technology behind online shopping is reliable, because it is already in existence and being used," said Antonello Busetto, a government coordinator for the development of electronic commerce. "The real challenge will be to gain the confidence of Italian users."

The key to E-shop and all online shopping in Italy, according to Busetto, is involvement by small and medium-sized businesses. They must understand not only the technology but also the value of this new means of marketing and take advantage of it.

"Business people must understand, also, that it is not sufficient to simply offer competitive prices, based on those found in traditional stores. Internet sellers must offer products that impossible to find in the neighborhood shops," said Busetto.