Italy’s two main buying groups, Vision Group and Netcity, will merge on Jan. 1, but will maintain their offices and staff based in Milan and Prato, near Florence.

Vision Group has more than 2,100 associated optical stores, operating under different banners including VisionOttica’s, the group’s nationwide label with more than 300 locations. Vision Group also has 20 directly-managed stores.

Netcity, which operates under the commercial name Ottitaly, comprises more than 900 opticians. It also runs the omni-channel platform, Ottiqo.

On Jan. 1, the combined group will launch a new B2B and customer relationship management system with the collaboration of the American cloud-based software company Salesforce, which also helped Safilo with its new B2B platform and customer relationship management system.

Vision Group’s warehouse’s will be connected to the B2B platform, offering its contact lenses and glasses to all members of the enlarged network. With the tie-up, the new group will examine the possibility of offering to some Netcity members the option to adopt the VisionOttica banner to increase its national presence. Meanwhile, Vision Group’s members will have access to the services offered by the Ottitaly and Ottiqo networks.