GSA ANNOUNCES COMMERCIAL E-COMMERCE PLATFORM AWARDS
Overstock, Amazon, and Fisher Scientific are the awardees of GSA’s commercial electronic commerce platform pilot. The program, mandated by Congress in an effort to enable federal agencies to take advantage of the ease of use of commercial e-commerce platforms, is expected to launch as early as the first-part of July, meaning that it will compete for year-end business opportunities with the GSA Schedules and other programs. A wide variety of commercial products will be available, including office supplies, furniture, and, apparently, lab equipment. While orders will be limited to the micro-purchase amount, it is unclear whether that level includes the temporary $20,000 ceiling some agencies have set due to the impact of COVID-19 or will be at the standard $10,000. Either way, significant purchase card business could be done, especially as agencies seek to obligate “use or lose” funds later this summer. In announcing the award, GSA Administrator Emily Murphy said, “The e-commerce portals proof-of-concept is 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.” Indeed, supply chain security was a key offeror evaluation point. Another important element of the three-year pilot is the ability of agencies to gather spend analysis and other user data. Contractors are required to capture certain elements of buying activity, something that has proven to be of high interest to agencies. Agencies already using awardee e-commerce platforms will be expected to transition to the GSA program, with contractor help. Success will likely depend on pricing, ease of use, security, and how effectively companies can market their solutions.