Oriole Readies International Auction Site

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Taurus Direct Marketing is advising Oriole Systems on creating an international eBay-style Web site to sell and auction goods from Asia to consumers in the United States and elsewhere.

The site, www.mymart.net, is set to debut July 26 and will initially feature merchandise from The Beijing International Gem Trading Center, the Bangladesh Internet Mall Ltd. and brand-name clothing from several manufacturers. Eventually, developers envision an international Internet market where Indian silk wholesalers could auction their cloth to Chinese dressmakers, who in turn could sell their clothes in the United States.

"Initially, we will be targeting three markets -- North America, mainland China's home shoppers and the overseas Chinese market in parts of the U.S.," said Al Gerenser, president of Oriole, Toronto. "But people in Germany and Italy have also expressed interest. For example, it's possible to buy medical equipment in Asia for a fraction of the European price."

Oriole has lined up several manufacturers who have agreed to be listed on www.mymart.net, an English-language site. All of the products will be certified, guaranteed, warranted and sold in U.S. dollars. Deliveries will be made using Federal Express and UPS. Both Visa and the Bank of China have agreed to be involved in the operation. Customers will be driven to the site through search engines, space advertising and broadcast outlets. Oriole will contact potential wholesalers and retailers in Asia via direct mail and the telephone. The company also plans to advertise its goods in China.

"Every cottage in China has a television, so this will be our tool for advertising," Gerenser said.

The company's competitors are department stores who are already creating catalogs aimed at this market. However, Oriole said it plans to provide more choice of goods at outlet mall prices.

"If we can get 5 percent of the direct marketing market in China, that will represent $35 or $40 million," said Frank Stama, CEO of Oriole's U.S. operation. "We expect to be at the forefront of the rapid growth in e-commerce worldwide."

"We realize that the back room is just as important," said Tracy Emerick, head of Taurus, Hampton, NH, who was appointed to Oriole's board of directors last month. "If you've got the front room but not the back room then it's not going to work. We've got both."

Oriole tested a pilot Web site that opened for window shopping last week.

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