After branching out into financial technology to supplement its e-commerce business, Overstock.com (OSTK -2.28%) says it just won a contract with the General Services Administration (GSA) to construct a business-to-business e-commerce platform for the federal government. Two other companies, Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO 1.17%) and Amazon.com (AMZN -0.12%), through its Amazon Business segment, were also selected for the initiative by the GSA.
The program, which is described as a pilot, is intended to streamline procurement of necessary furniture and other items for various agencies, increasing security and saving money. Overstock.com CEO Jonathan Johnson says his company is "thrilled GSA has selected us for this exclusive group of online retailers to participate in this proof-of-concept pilot program which will allow us to supply key items like office furniture and equipment to government agencies."
The GSA also issued a statement saying the test period of the program will continue for three years. During this time, the business-to-business e-commerce arrangement will focus on supply purchases below $10,000, termed "micro purchases" by the government.
Emily Murphy, GSA administrator, says the contracts are "an important step in offering a solution for purchasing commercial products online that protects our federal supply chain against malicious and counterfeit goods, furthering our national security." According to her, the plan will provide "better security practices, better data, and better pricing."
The GSA wants the new e-commerce platform up and running within 30 days. Overstock.com says the agency's expectations "align nicely" with the company's experience in building online infrastructure. Overstock also said it will boost efficiency by offering its new federal client "concierge customer-care service."