Hewlett-Packard Co and Microsoft Corp are hoping to cash in on the Christmas buying frenzy in the UK and Europe, and in conjunction with United Parcel Services, the two are sponsoring a new Christmas shopping electronic commerce site – e-Christmas.com (CI No 3,266). It’s partly designed to raise the profile of electronic commerce. The service will go live on November 3, with between 50 and 150 European retailers offering their goods online, including the famous UK toy store Hamleys and North London soccer club Tottenham Hotspur. Some 70% of the business generated is expected to come from the US and Japan. The site offers a multi-lingual service, although Japanese is not an option, and caters for 11 currencies. Using Microsoft Wallet, users don’t have to type in their credit card details every time they make a purchase, instead accessing a password protected document that contains all the necessary details. Purchases made via the site can only be paid for by Visa or Mastercard, and prices won’t be any cheaper than those in the shops, with handling, delivery and tax costs added on. With only 2% of European homes having access to the internet compared to 14% of US homes, the consortium, one member of which described the site as an experiment wants to raise the profile of electronic commerce, and Steve Muddiman, Hewlett-Packards marketing director said: Businesses will pay later if it is ignored now. But the site has an uncertain future that at the moment doesn’t extend past January. http://www.e-Christmas.com
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