E-trade etcetera

15 October 2003

My dear Sam, Needless to say, I continue following Leather International and your articles (I have an 'electronic' subscription and also get hold of hard copies), including the LimeMix (Leather August, page 12) and certainly every progress being made on the SFF. Very encouraging!! Yes, I agree with you that the leather trade is not suitable for e-trade and the experiences of LeatherXchange have confirmed it - if we are talking about a fully 'electronic' trade. However, what is already happening is that (among a lot of junk) useful, preliminary e-contacts and exchange of basic information sometimes leads to visits, on-the-spot assessments, negotiations and ultimately genuine business. In other words, I tend to think that e-contacts can considerably accelerate the traditional modus operandi. Here I also have in mind that younger generations are more inclined to send an email message and/or visit a website rather than, as my or even your generation would, lift a receiver and in the course of conversation to some extent size up the potential partner. You have also, in my view, rightly put the word 'experts' between inverted comas. Nevertheless, I wonder whether a different, realistic concept with dedicated IT staff and genuine leather specialists acting as acilitators/catalysts could not be successful in the foreseeable future. Jakov Buljan

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