iCat E-Commerce UK Invasion

British Telecommunications plc (BT) last week announced an agreement with the iCat E-Commerce Provider Program to offer e-commerce services to its 1.3 million small to mid-sized business customers through the newly created BT StoreCentre. iCat, a division of Intel Corp., joined in the announcement.

iCat provides services and support for small to mid-sized businesses to enter the world of e-commerce. The E-Commerce Provider Program — launched in May — packages the iCat store-building service in order to resell it available to larger companies, such as telecommunications and financial companies, along with Internet Service Providers, and others. These companies, in turn, “commerce enable” the Web sites of their customers.

“The Internet is without doubt the medium that the future of buying products and services will be based on, and by using BT StoreCentre our customers can more effectively compete on even footing with larger companies,” stated Eric Guilloteau, general manager of BT’s eBusiness division.

Flip the Switch

“Our involvement in the iCat E-Commerce Provider Program enables us to provide our customers an award-winning service to help them establish their businesses online,” added Guilloteau.

According to iCat company representative Scott Battishill, in an E-Commerce Times Interview, “one day BT was a great portal for their customers, and the next they were an e-commerce provider. They just flipped a switch, and they’re providing this established e-commerce service.”

iCat will provide the front-end solution, according to the agreement, and BT will offer real-time credit card transaction processing as well as primary customer support to its merchants. The recently announced Excite Shopping Service — created in collaboration between iCat and Excite — will be available to BT StoreCentre business customers.

An Opened Door

The terms of the agreement will also be extended to BT’s 150 wholly owned subsidiary companies internationally, according to Battishill. “Any of the companies can now step up, to iCat and say, ‘I want to do the same thing,’ and they will get exactly the same terms of the agreement and conditions we’ve extended to BT.”

“So what BT has,” added Battishill, “open the door for all of their companies throughout Europe, and the world essentially, to say, ‘ok, I also want to be a provider for e-commerce. So, there’s a little but more of a significant deal than just the fact that BT stepped onboard.”

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