Static Pricing is Going, Going, Gone!

D-commerce, a.k.a. dynamic commerce, consists of a variety of pricing options such as forward auctions, reverse auction (procurement), auction networks, cross-auction portals and exchanges. One of the software providers in this emerging marketplace is OpenSite Technologies (Durham, N.C.), a division of Siebel Systems.

Prompted by the understanding that e-commerce is changing the way companies are doing business and dynamic pricing is transforming e-commerce, OpenSite developed a suite of software applications aptly named the “Dynamic Commerce Toolkit.” These soft tools address the needs of the business that is looking to enter the arena of online auctions, exchanges, bartering forums and automated RFP systems.

According to research from Keenan Vision, a San Francisco-based firm that offers e-commerce consulting, the projected growth rates for dynamic pricing applications will outpace general e-commerce growth, soaring from under $4 billion in 1998 to over $120 billion by 2002.

OpenSite believes that compared to traditional Web shopping experiences, dynamic commerce offers marketers a greater opportunity to draw people in, engage, entertain and give them something to talk about afterward. An additional intent is to increase customer interaction, and thereby increase the stickiness of the Web site.

Realizing that while some businesses use traditional online auctions to liquidate inventory, increase revenues and build continuity, others are employing reverse auctions for procurement purposes, and/or using dynamic commerce to strengthen business relationships. According to OpenSite, their software provides the maximum flexibility in accomplishing some or all of the above goals.

Kristi Lee, the public relations specialist at OpenSite walked me through the company’s history and product offerings. Founded in 1996, it was the first to offer a packaged online auction application, and as of this writing, has deployed more than 600 customer solutions, approximately three times its nearest competitor. Its primary markets include ISPs, Internet Portals and businesses. They currently employ over 140 people in Research Triangle Park, N.C., Boca Raton, Fla., and Redwood City, Calif., and have an office in London. Customers include such household names as PNC Bank, Sharper Image, QVC, and

The Dynamic Commerce Toolkit allows the user to tailor dynamic pricing applications to the user’s specific needs, and tie them together to other systems.

Specifically the Toolkit license includes:

  • The D-Commerce Engine Access Library, implemented as a COM or CORBA client
  • The D-Commerce Engine Server
  • The OpenSite Technologies billing and invoicing module
  • The integration point for an SMTP e-mail server
  • A full range of auction page templates
  • A sample application built with the Dynamic Commerce Toolkit
  • All necessary guides to libraries and scripting languagesOpenSite Auction software is available as a three-tiered product family. OpenSite Auction Professional is an entry-level edition that allows customers, new to online auctions, to get their feet wet with a minimal financial and time investment. It’s priced at $5,000 for the software and $1,250 annually for support and maintenance. OpenSite Auction Merchant is designed for businesses that want to incorporate an auction solution into their Web site that facilitates online community building as well as additional revenue streams. It’s priced at $15,000 for the software and $3,750 annually for maintenance. OpenSite Auction Corporate works for businesses that want a turnkey auction solution. It’s priced at $50,000 for the software, and $12,500 for maintenance.

    Considering the numerous built-in features included in the packages, the software costs appear more than reasonable.

    For the organization that wants to completely outsource the process of running online auctions—without the complications involved in setting up hardware and software—the company also offers OpenSite Concierge, costing $15,000 for initial setup, $9,500 per month, plus 2 percent of auction revenue.

    If your firm is interested in putting its products in front of worldwide bidders and sellers, this may be your answer.

    Bob Lewis is VP of IT at the Unified Foodservice Purchasing Cooperative (Louisville, Ky.).

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    Related Information:

  • OpenSite Technologies (new window)
  • Toolkit Overview (new window)
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