JP Morgan Chase has launched bPurchase, an Internet-based marketplace designed expressly for small-to-mid-sized businesses.
The bank is using technology from Metiom, to provide bPurchase subscribers with comparison-shopping and online ordering for close to a million products. The bPurchase supplier list includes national and dot.com retailers representing a wide range of items and services, including Barnes & Noble, Fatbrain, Everything Wireless, Lexmark, IBM and Office Depot, among others.
To back up its investment, the bank points to research from AMI Partners which indicates that 68 percent of US small businesses are already buying some office supplies, IT hardware and software, publications and other products and services online. AMI forecasts the value of small business buying and selling on the Internet will be $238 billion by 2001, up from $115 billion this year. And Forrester research estimates that amount will grow to over $870 billion by 2003.
Later this year, JP Morgan Chase plans to expand bPurchase to enable businesses to sell through the site, as well as to buy. The Metiom ConnectTrade e-Catalog tool is free and it enables suppliers to build and manage a feature-rich online store then maintain their own product listings and pricing.
"bPurchase is exciting because it was designed as a small-business solution from the very beginning - it's not a big-business solution remade to look like something it isn't," notes Albert Pang, an e-commerce analyst with IDC.