GSA Wants More Feedback on E-Commerce Portals

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The General Services Administration urged industry partners to comment before the holidays if they have input for the proof-of-concept stage.

The General Services Administration will develop a proof of concept for an e-commerce portal by the end of fiscal 2019, but the agency wants more industry feedback before it establishes any formal partnerships with providers or suppliers.

GSA made the announcement Wednesday at an Industry Day, and subsequently released a modified request for information seeking additional industry feedback on early requirements and several questions posed by the agency.

Responses are due Dec. 21, and will help GSA finalize a solicitation and a report on the second phase of GSA’s plan to Congress, which drove the agency’s budding e-commerce efforts through the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act.

“If you’ve got something to say, make sure you respond to the RFI before the holidays,” said Alan Thomas, commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service.

GSA spent much of the last year conducting market research and engaging industry, hammering out portal details, such as terms and conditions for sellers. In total, GSA met with 75 companies, released multiple RFIs and conducted three industry days in the past year. GSA's intent is to eventually contract out governmentwide e-commerce portals—similar to those in the commercial sector like Amazon or Overstock.com—that would make buying a wide variety of commercial products easier and faster for federal agencies.

According to its latest update, GSA’s proof of concept will require multiple e-marketplace providers, and individual orders will be capped at the micro-purchase threshold of $10,000. In addition, contracts with e-marketplace providers will include “significantly fewer terms and conditions than found in typical FAR-based contracts.”

“Throughout the implementation of the proof of concept, GSA will continue to assess how we may incorporate the features and functionalities of the e-commerce and e-procurement business models,” the update states.

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