MarketPlace Direct Offers Interactive Online Service

With more and more purchasing being done over the Internet, customer service and order fulfillment are now more important than ever in the areas of e-business and e-commerce. Recognizing the need for better-integrated online service, MarketPlace Systems Corp. (Austin, Texas) introduces WebDirect, a product designed to meet both the needs of the retailers and its customer.

WebDirect is fully integrated with MarketPlace DIRECT – an order management system -- to provide a complete solution for selling on the Internet.

"Most Internet shopping sites are completely lacking any customer fulfillment and customer service features," says Jay Fisher, president of MarketPlace Systems. "Even the most sophisticated Web sites often require that a customer’s order be hand-keyed into a completely different system. WebDirect’s integrated approach is what retailers need to do real business on the Web."

Since MarketPlace software is an IBM business partner and is developed using LANSA, an application development tool for the AS/400, they are once again targeting AS/400 users.

"We’re looking for companies that want to do a significant volume over the Web," Fisher says. "And that includes many AS/400 users."

WebDirect is valuable to retailers for a number of reasons. It allows them to create multiple catalogs from a single database. Pricing, inventory and graphical changes are immediately reflected online. Additional features include: dynamic Web page creation, a full-featured shopping cart application, the capability to integrate with existing Web sites, real time access to stock availability, credit card processing, automatic e-mail confirmation and notification of shipment, and warehouse management.

The area that should be most beneficial to retailers, according to MarketPlace Systems, is order fulfillment. Most Web sites have to key-in a customer’s order after the customer types in all the information over the Internet. With WebDirect, however, the customer’s order will go right to the order processing system. "All of the manual processing of the order is eliminated," Fisher says. "The information goes right to the order processing system and is immediately ready to be shipped."

This feature also benefits the consumers. After placing an order, they are given an order number immediately. In addition to benefiting from the quicker service, consumers will be able to check the status of their order by calling an 800-number or checking it online.

WebDirect should also provide benefits in the areas of retail marketing and advertising. Since WebDirect is interactive, it knows where the customers are located and the path they took to the Web site. This will allow the marketing and advertising groups a better idea of what areas and Web sites are the most popular and what areas need better promotion.