IBM has spearheaded the SME e-commerce market with a Web-authoring tool, which the vendor claims will enable SMEs to build an e-commerce-enabled Web site within a few days.
Announced in Australia yesterday, HomePage Creator is available to small-to-medium companies over the Web on a pay-per-month basis, says Jeremy Pollard, small business solutions marketing manager for IBM Australia and New Zealand.
HomePage Creator enables Web site creation, includes secure online credit card transactions, domain name support, networking ability to "link" with other Web sites, automated registration with 20 search engines and a free 30-day trial, says Pollard.
Although available directly over the Internet, Pollard claims there are a number of opportunities for channel partners to resell the product, with IBM currently talking to its existing partners in Australia as well as recruiting more.
He says that while there are margins to be made on the product, more significant revenues are to be derived from "hand-holding" companies through the Web site construction process and what resellers can value add to the product at the back end.
Pollard sees these revenue opportunities operating along two levels for IBM Web affiliates. Both smaller Web developers, with a design focus, and larger VARs, that can offer larger back-end business solutions and software.
Australian pricing is based on one of five plans, ranging from the Basic plan ($35 per month plus a $35 initial setup fee for the creation of a Web site without e-commerce capabilities) to the Platinum ($300 per month plus $300 set-up fee with real-time credit card processing and up to 500 catalogue items). However, Pollard says companies can get e-commerce capabilities for $60 per month.
The e-commerce transactions are arranged through payment service provider Telstra Surelink Shopsafe, says Pollard, with custom Web site names also available to HomePage Creator customers as an optional service -- for an additional fee.
One of Australia's first users of HomePage Creator is Starion Team Peugeot, competitor in Australia's Super Touring Championship, whose team manager Paul Grimm expressed his support for the product and its ease of update functionality.
"My job is to run a race team, not to become a webmaster -- so I was looking for a solution that was easy to use and manage, and allowed me to update race results and photos from the track," he said.
For more information or to register visit www.ibm.com/hpc/aust/