First Union Intros Online Marketplace For Small Businesses



First Union Corp. today unveiled a plan to provide its small and midsize business customers with a free business-to-business online marketplace through a partnership with Intelisys Commerce Inc.

A key part of First Union's Internet strategy is to provide multiple channels for its customers' business transactions, the company says. Through the partnership, First Union will take Intelisys' existing infrastructure, rebrand it, and market it to its business customers. Users will have the ability to buy and sell products from an array of suppliers. The marketplace will also include financial services and content.

Companies using the site will be able to leverage the purchasing power of the other site members and will be able to buy, sell, and compare core business supplies through their Web browsers. Companies with enterprise resource planning, legacy, and other back-office systems will be able to integrate them into the marketplace.

One of the key differences between First Union's marketplace and that of others already in operation is that it lets buyers access supplier-managed catalogs says Michael deJulien, VP of product development for First Union. "Typically, buyers haven't been able control their product catalog material and have had to send product catalog updates to a third party who would then enter the changes," he says. "Our users will be able to make these changes themselves and have them posted in real time so that their customers will have the most up-to-date information on product availability."

First Union's marketplace will be available for free to its customers in the third quarter

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