Fabian Demicoli

An eMall to widen the Gap

 GRTU has written Hon Austin Gatt Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Communication complaining on the new eMall, soon to be launched.

GRTU told Minister Gatt that it is not at all happy with the way the whole Trolley Mania electronic mall project is moving.

 

The Mall was originally aimed at providing an inexpensive platform for small retailers to advertise and sell their products online and to give them an opportunity to try out electronic commerce. "It will support the mummy and daddy store round the corner and enable them to compete with the bigger store that has more means" they told us. It had to provide the small retailer with a means to cheaply set up an electronic commerce front end and benefit from a shared online payment system as well as a shared delivery system.

The construction of the internet engine and website was awarded by public tender to one company and amongst others the tender includes a substantial sum of money to cover advertising costs for the first year of operation. The contractor is given discretion on how to use these funds. Participants in the scheme pay an enrolment fee to the contractor and a yearly premium.

In principle, GRTU is not against the idea; however from what we have seen till now we seriously doubt it is going to achieve its original goals. GRTU, during the only meeting it was invited to attend had warned about such problems and suggested measures to ensure that it is first of all in the interest of the small retailers.

In a detailed report drafted by GRTU Vice president Marcel Mizzi and president of the ICT eCommerce section within the GRTU, explained why GRTU is against the electronic mall project and made proposals in order to turn the current situation into a positive one for the smaller businesses. GRTU has also asked for a meeting on these lines to discuss its report and make amends to the current system.

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