FedEx Corp., Memphis, TN, said yesterday that it will launch a new service designed to help small and medium-sized businesses build online stores.
The FedEx eCommerce solution, which will be available via www.fedex.com, is scheduled to launch by mid-summer. To support the offering, FedEx has formed an alliance with Orbit Commerce Inc., Chicago, an e-business services platform provider.
According to both companies, the scalable Orbit eBusiness Platform will enable small and medium-sized businesses to create Web stores quickly. It will offer core business processes that are necessary for selling online, including:
• Web design and hosting;
• catalog development;
• back-office management, such as catalog and site revisions;
• integrated FedEx shipping and tracking;
• real-time financial settlement;
• and customer service, such as customer e-mail notification.
FedEx plans to roll out the service to more than 2.5 million customers who are already connected electronically to the shipping company's technology network, as well as to new customers.
“This agreement represents a comprehensive e-business offering for current and future FedEx customers to grow their businesses using the Web,” said Paul Reilly, CEO, Orbit Commerce. “The Orbit eBusiness Platform provides companies like FedEx with a powerful tool to capture, broaden and strengthen their relationships with small and medium-sized businesses.”
It is unclear how much it will cost merchants to set up an online store through FedEx, or whether FedEx will give shipping discounts to businesses that use the service.
This is not FedEx's first foray into the e-commerce world. An earlier attempt to help companies buy and sell online, called BusinessLink, was a disappointment, partly because e-commerce was a fledgling business at the time.
FedEx said it selected Orbit Commerce for its expertise and speed-to-market in enabling large enterprise customers to offer an industry-leading, hosted platform of integrated applications and services aimed specifically at the needs of small and medium-sized businesses.
“FedEx is making a concerted effort to add value to small and medium-sized businesses through our overall portfolio of e-commerce services,” said David Roussain, vice president, electronic commerce marketing, FedEx.