Xtra unveils its e-commerce product

Telecom Xtra, which launched with management dreams of developing its own ISP package to sell to other telcos, has opted for a proven turnkey solution to underpin its electronic commerce strategy. Xtra BusinessBuilder is based on technology from Intershop Communications, a German e-commerce specialist which began as an EDI vendor in the old East Germany and now works with telcos and other large hosting organisations through Europe and the US.

Telecom Xtra, which launched with management dreams of developing its own ISP package to sell to other telcos, has opted for a proven turnkey solution to underpin its electronic commerce strategy.

Xtra BusinessBuilder, which was announced yesterday after six months of development, is based on technology from Intershop Communications, a German e-commerce specialist which began as an EDI vendor in the old East Germany and now works with telcos and other large hosting organisations through Europe and the US. The company recently opened offices in Sydney and Melbourne.

BusinessBuilder, described by Xtra general manager Bob Smith as "our first major initiative into the electronic commerce space", should certainly fill some gaps in Xtra's hosting offerings.

Existing customers such as Whitcoulls - whose online presence at Xtra has hardly been a raging success - have been the first to benefit from the new technology, which affords Xtra customers full remote control of their own Web shopfronts, along with back-end functions such as invoices, credits and customer and inventory tracking.

The first major new customer to come in under BusinessBuilder is the Computer City chain, which says Xtra's Phil Henderson, has been able to design its own site in-house, using templates supplied as part of the BusinessBuilder package.

Intershop's template-based approach, "where most of our competitors tend to offer you tools to build with," is a major point of differentiation for Intershop, says its regional sales manager, Fergus Campbell. "You can add the flashy bits later on if you want, but you can use this to get a working e-commerce site up very quickly."

Credit card transactions via BusinessBuilder are SSL-encrypted and will be clear through BNZ Buyline, a gateway developed for Xtra to provide real-time settlements, says Telecom Internet Services e-commerce manager Nevin Grieve. Grieve says he expects other payment methods to be available "within months".

Basic connection price for BusinessBuilder is $1250, plus a flat fee of $179 a month for up to 500 products and/or 5Mb of disk space; or $499 a month for up to 5000 products and 20Mb of disk space.

The BusinessBuilder Website is at:

www.xtra.co.nz/businessbuilder

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