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The GSA is Launching a New Government-wide E-Commerce Portal

By Debbie Gregory.

The new GSA Portal is Scheduled for late 2019 and selling to the federal government is about to get easier!

A new E-Commerce platform that will make it easier for government agencies to buy commercial products is in its final stages and is about ready to launch! Built over the last few years by the General Services Administration (GSA) with assistance from the Office of Management and Budget, the platform is slated to launch late in 2019. The GSA is focused on continuously improving how the federal government buys and sells goods and by modernizing the experience it will reduce the burden on small businesses, the agencies themselves, and create greater value for taxpayers.

This new system will allow agencies to quickly browse and purchase a wide range of commercial goods without having to go through the lengthy government procurement process that they do now. The goal of this new E-Commerce platform is to make it easier and less expensive for businesses to sell items, such as tools, hardware, and office supplies, to federal agencies.

The portal will follow the traditional E-marketplace model which will allow third-party vendors to sell goods on the platform. The new portal will launch with a handful of hand-picked agencies at the end of the calendar year in 2019 with the ultimate goal of scaling it up government-wide, if it is successful, by mid 2020. These agencies will be allowed to buy goods that cost less than the federal “micro-purchase threshold” – which is currently set at $10,000.

The platform is also being built to remove barriers for small businesses who wish to sell to federal agencies and allow them to compete with traditional larger government vendors. Currently there is not a specific number for how many vendors will be a part of the program at its launch.  GSA is confident that the new E-Commerce platform will provide agencies more choice and better vendor performance.  The program will help prevent monopolies on government purchases as well as give smaller businesses opportunities to compete.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association encourages all members to take advantage of this new platform.

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA,

E-commerce Tips

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E-commerce Tips

By Debbie Gregory.

Many veteran business owners and VAMBOA members began their entrepreneurial journey by launching E-commerce websites. E-commerce, short for electronic commerce, is also known as internet commerce and refers to the buying and selling of goods or services via the internet, as well as the transfer of money and data to execute these transactions.

With global retail E-commerce sales are projected to reach $27 trillion by 2020 so you can see why this is such an attractive way to begin a business. But before entrepreneurs jump into the water, here are a few tips to aid in the success of an E-commerce business:

It begins with reaching your audience. If you’re looking to do business online, that’s where you are going to find the majority of your customers. So purchase your domain name, design your web site and set up your social media accounts. Blog, blog, blog. Add a podcast. Optimize your store for mobile.

If you aren’t great with technology, outsource the things you need help with. For example, when your customer adds a product to their cart, does your web site immediately let them know what others products previous purchasers have added-on as a suggested bundle? If a customer is about to abandon their cart, does your website know how to entice them back? If you don’t know how to build in these options, outsource them to someone who does.

Because you are at a disadvantage when it comes to your customers being able to see and touch (and smell) your product in-person, offer incentives such as free shipping or a money back guarantee if it makes financial sense to do so. Encourage your existing customers to leave reviews of your products by offering a percentage discount on their purchase to thank them for their time.

Start building a sales funnel. Think “Do you want fries with that order?” If your customer comes in for one thing, you’re going to ask if they’d like anything else before they cash out.

The more value you add — through freebies, up sells, and add-ons — the more trust you’ll build with your customers, and customers who trust you will spend more.

Building a good relationship with your customers will increase the chances that they will refer others to you, boosting your business even further.

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA,

 

How to Bring Your Business Online

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By Debbie Gregory.

Building an online presence from the ground up can be very intimidating for a small business owner. Gone are the days when just having a Facebook page and Twitter account was all you needed. Customers are choosing to shop online now more than ever.

Here are some tips as to the best way to bring your business online:

First of all, focus on getting your business off the ground and on the internet. Concentrate on your website. Make sure it is functional. If buttons aren’t working or your website is not responding, your potential customers will move on to your competitors’ websites. Because your website is a reflection of your business, it’s worth investing in making it up to date and easy to navigate. And don’t forget to offer a mobile app as well.

Depending on the type of business you run, think about setting up an e-commerce site that allows customers to purchase your products online.

Blogging is the best way to keep your customers in the loop on topics such as sales, deals, events, and much more. You don’t have to bombard your customers with posts every day, but don’t neglect fresh content.

Make sure your products and services have a price point that covers all of your costs and allows for a profit.

Keep in mind that there are many professional groups that you can join to find potential business contacts, as well as to stay on top of trends happening in your industry. LinkedIn is probably one of the best for accomplishing this.

Offer something to your visitors in exchange for their email addresses, like a percentage off or a free download.

Know before you start, building and running any business, online or brick and mortar, means you will be working long and hard in the beginning stages.

Hopefully, at some point, it will get easier and smoother.

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