Federal Express is delivering a service that will help small to
medium-sized businesses build online stores.
The service, to launch later this summer, will be offered by the
express-delivery giant through an alliance with Orbit Commerce, an Internet
business company. The companies will host applications and
services that help small and medium-sized businesses set up shop on the
Net quickly. The Web stores will be integrated with FedEx's shipping and
This strategy pits the delivery company against Network Commerce
(formerly Shopnow.com), Amazon.com's zShops and Bank of America--all of
which have services that host or help businesses create
online stores or set up e-commerce services.
FedEx is playing catch-up in the e-commerce sector with rival
United Parcel Service. UPS has moved from simply delivering goods to
creating a subsidiary that is researching and developing new businesses in
the package-delivery industry.
The subsidiary's first project was also
aimed at small to midsized businesses with complete logistical services,
from warehousing and orders to customer service.
While UPS further streamlines e-commerce delivery services by
expanding into electronic payments and other logistical systems, FedEx plans to provide
Web design and hosting services.
FedEx hopes to entice some of its 2.5 million-plus customers to use the new