E-commerce activity is booming. Microsoft Site Server 3.0, Commerce Edition can help you corner your own piece of the market.

Get a Piece of the Pie

E-commerce activity is booming. Microsoft Site Server 3.0, Commerce Edition can help you corner your own piece of the market.

The boom in online commerce is here. According to Forrester Research, online retail transactions are a $4 billion activity and are estimated to reach $17 billion in the next four years. Online retail is a small piece of the larger pie for online business, which Forrester pegs at $8 billion today, growing to $327 billion by 2002.

To serve this market, Microsoft offers Site Server 3.0, Commerce Edition, an Internet server optimized for Microsoft Windows NT with Internet Information Server. It enables businesses to engage and transact with customers and partners online via commerce sites and applications, targeted online advertising and marketing, and personalized promotions.

Based on strong integration with Windows NT Server, Site Server Commerce integrates easily into existing systems and provides secure and scalable order capture, management, and routing for businesses. It also helps business managers analyze usage data and implement changes to maximize effectiveness.

Site Server Commerce in Action

Direct selling is the most popular use of Site Server Commerce today. Major online retailers like Barnesandnoble.com, Dell Computer Corp., Eddie Bauer, The Gap, and Office Depot use it for this purpose—as do small- and medium-sized companies including Holt, 1-800-Flowers, and The Orvis Company.

The second major use of Site Server Commerce is for corporate purchasing of non-production (“indirect”) goods and services. At Microsoft, we’re using Site Server Commerce for our internal Microsoft Market. It has boosted productivity, cut purchase order costs to just $5 per order (compared to the industry average of $60), and enabled us to reassign 25 people. We’ve replicated this model and made it a starter site in Site Server Commerce. You can use the starter site as a springboard for your own custom development, or you can work with our ISV partners, such as Commerce One, to obtain a comprehensive out-of-box corporate purchasing solution based on Site Server Commerce.

The third way in which we see Site Server Commerce being used is for value-chain trading. This involves the procurement of production (“direct”) items or movement of finished products across the value chain. Merisel, for example, is using Site Server Commerce’s new Commerce Interchange Pipeline architecture to give its 25,000 resellers direct access to inventory and online purchasing. In this way, Merisel’s inventory also becomes the resellers’ own, virtual inventory.

Multiple Uses

There are various ways you can help your clients use Site Server Commerce. Some companies want to host their own commerce sites. Others want dedicated hosting by a solution provider. Still others want a commercial provider hosting multiple customers. Site Server Commerce can fit into any of these profiles.

How can you learn more? Guides, product details, case studies, and an evaluation version of Site Server Commerce are available at www.microsoft.com/siteserver/commerce. I invite you to take a look. Also, look for certification exams by early 1999 as part of the new Microsoft Certified Solution Developer and MCP+Site Building tracks.

About the Author

Rebekkah Kumar is Product Manager for Microsoft Commerce Marketing at Microsoft.