Aaron Day: Iconomy's chairman maps out the company's strategy of driving e-commerce

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Day: Our clients are really faced with three alternatives: an affiliate model, build it themselves, or our solution. People are pretty down on the affiliate model now. They understand that it directs customers away from the site, and that they don't own the customer data. They also don't have any control over the look and feel, and they can't really target the product offerings necessarily the way they'd like to. Basically, they can only book the commission revenue instead of booking the top line. And, of course, all of the CRM things go away with the affiliate model. I also think that people are realizing that building and maintaining is something that makes them slow to market. If they build it, you're looking at six to 12 months; you're looking at a minimum of a million to $2 million. Fundamentally, it's really not their core competency.

InfoWorld: How extensive is the network of suppliers?

Day: We started out as BuySafe and under that model created 22 storefronts and set up relationships with 150 wholesale distributors in 22 different product categories. We're also going to be announcing shortly our relationship with OrderTrust, which is actually going to bring to the table an additional 800 vendors initially, and they expect that to grow to 2,000 suppliers by the end of the year.

InfoWorld: What shipping services is the network tied into?

Day: We'rre trying to standardize that. Right now we're primarily using UPS [United Parcel Service], but that's flexible as well, whether it's UPS, Federal Express, U.S. mail, we can customize that. Our system once again is object-oriented, so we can actually change the shipping options for each client. So if you actually want to offer free shipping, we can build that logic in. If you want to have kind of a flat fee, based on the number of items or the weight, we can do that as well.

InfoWorld: Are you going to build some kind of auction capability and eventually a trading network?

Day: We're thinking about building that type of capability. Whether we build that or whether we partner is something that is yet to be decided.

InfoWorld: How long does it take to get the system up and running?

Day: Again, we have a very object-oriented approach to doing things. We can very quickly change and modify and customize the merchandising assortment specific to each client, and then we can very quickly change the graphical treatment, the colors and schemes accordingly, and we can do this very, very quickly. We can do it, if need be, in a matter of a day.

InfoWorld: Does that limit the customer's flexibility?

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