The ministry of the economy in Luxembourg is to launch an online marketplace called Letzshop.lu to encourage local retailers to expand their ecommerce activities. You can read the official announcement from the Luxembourg government here, in French.
The government says that similar initiatives in German and Swiss cities to provide online marketplaces for local retailers have been successful and also increased bricks and mortar footfall where they’ve been launched online.
Francine Closener is the finance minister and says: ”Only 9% of Luxembourg businesses currently have an ecommerce websites, while Luxembourgers are the champions of online shopping in Europe. Thanks to the LetzShop.lu platform, the Ministry of the Economy aims to alleviate this imbalance by facilitating the sale of online merchants.”
In terms of costs for retailers using the service, which is expected to launch fully in the first quarter of 2018,there will be no listing fees or commissions, but there will be an annual subscription of €500. That sounds pretty cheap if it’s successful and you have a decent amount of inventory to make available online.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the initiative is that it’s state led and being executed by the government. That has the benefit of not being driven by a profit motive like the big marketplaces but rather focussed on generating sales to help make businesses more successful.
That said, does a government have the technological nous to develop a successful online marketplace that works for retailers? It will be interesting to see how this new ecommerce platform develops.