Quiksilver Europe launched its state-of-the-art e-shopping website after much build-up over the past few weeks, teaming together with Microsoft France to employ the latest internet technology. The website will allow users in the European markets served by the subsidiary to shop, chat with Quiksilver’s board-riders and view major board riding competitions live.

The sports apparel brand, which has spent around €300,000 on the project, will make use of Microsoft’s advertising muscle to attract web-surfers to the online shop, essentially through the MSN network.

Quiksilver Europe killed off its entertainment branch, reallocating the entertainment budget entirely to this internet project. It paves the way for a possible similar move by Quiksilver USA which as yet does not have an e-commerce website and invests a great deal in Quiksilver Entertainment. The website will be managed by Quiksilver Europe’s marketing team, and several web-journalists will be hired to regularly feed it with board-riding news.

The site uses the latest Web 3.0 technology to create an interactive board-riding community, meaning that users will actually participate in the evolution of the website by designing their own pages, uploading films and images and communicating with each other on the site. Quiksilver has enlisted 27 of its champion board-riders in surf, snow and skate to create blogs and communicate with action sport fans. Most of these board-riders were previously using MySpace to make the connection with consumers.

The site will also be broadcasting major board-riding competitions live by using Silverlight technology, an all-new Microsoft plug-in that facilitates multi-media input and enhances the quality of images for instant video-streaming. It is Microsoft’s answer to the Adobe Flash plug-in and has already been adopted for the construction of other virtual stores.

Quiksilver Europe chose to launch the project near its head office on the Southeastern coast of France during the Quiksilver Pro-France men’s surfing championships, the seventh stage of the world championships sponsored by the brand. It predicts a turnover of over €650 million for the company for this year on the European market, and although its objective for e-commerce is an added 5-10 percent to turnover, it is waiting to see what additional figures the website may bring home.

The new virtual store will not yet offer the new Quiksilver Woman line of street and outdoor clothing, which will only start to become available in British, French and Spanish stores by Spring 2008. The company feels that only 8 percent of Roxy’s sales will be captured by the new line in these and other European markets.