FedEx, Orbit Team for Small Business Web Hosting

BOSTON (06/12/2000) - Orbit Commerce Inc. and Federal Express Corp. are creating a software platform for small and medium-sized companies doing business on the Internet that will offer them a range of services, including Web design and hosting.

The electronic-business platform will provide catalog development, back-office management, financial settlement, customer service and integrated Federal Express (FedEx) shipping and tracking, besides the design and hosting services, Orbit said in a written statement Monday.

The software platform will be available to new and existing FedEx customers and is aimed at letting them integrate core business processes needed for online selling. Besides the platform development, Orbit said that the deal with FedEx means that Orbit's corporate customers will also be able to integrate FedEx shipping services into their Internet sites.

The new FedEx service for small and medium-sized businesses will be made available at http://www.fedex.com/ and is expected to launch within the next couple of months. FedEx is not yet releasing details about pricing, said David Roussain, the company's vice president for electronic commerce.

"All of our customers, large and small, are telling us that they want FedEx to become far more integrated into their companies to make shipping and shipping management easier," Roussain said in an interview when asked about FedEx's forays into e-commerce and the Internet.

The company particularly sees a need to provide additional services to its millions of small-business customers, he said. Smaller businesses tend to be technologically savvy but lack the resources to spend a lot of money or time building an online store, he noted.

The Orbit platform lets users set up the online presence themselves, using Internet wizards and templates enabling a variety of different looks. Small and medium-size businesses will be able to set up their online stores at their own pace, Roussain said. The software will work equally well for a small e-commerce site selling consumer products to a larger company that sells supplies in a particular vertical market, he said.

Orbit, based in Chicago, is an e-commerce service provider, offering software to businesses that want to quickly create an online presence. The company signs partnerships with large corporations, like FedEx, that in turn use Orbit's online software platform to develop services for small and medium-sized customers. FedEx, based in Memphis, Tennessee, is perhaps best known as an speedy shipping service, though it also has increasingly stepped into e-commerce and supply chain management.

Orbit, in Chicago, can be reached at +1-312-527-2828 or http://www.orbitcommerce.com/. FedEx, in Memphis, can be reached at +1-901-369-3600 or http://www.fedex.com/.

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