Mercantec jumps on the services train

Adds services links to e-commerce software package, in effort to help keep its customers afloat.

Mercantec Inc. next week will formally debut Merchant Connection, a site aimed at linking e-commerce merchants with related service providers.

The new site will be part of the rollout of a new version of Mercantec's SoftCart e-commerce software.

Company officials said that adding the links will give it an additional revenue stream, but will also help its customers, mostly small- and medium-size businesses that license the software through ISPs. If those businesses find the services they need, it will help ensure they're still around to use the software.

"Because it's a (licensing) model, if those merchants aren't successful, there goes my revenue," said Mercantec CEO Andrew Parker. "But the question becomes, how do you provide services without putting someone on a plane? Because at $100 a month, that's not something you can do."

Mercantec isn't the first to pursue this path. Last week, Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq:INTU) announced that it would allow third parties to offer service through its QuickBooks accounting product.

Mercantec said that its Merchant Connection site would be featured through a button in the SoftCart software. The site, which has been in testing for several months, will offer services including merchant account applications and payroll management, with others coming down the line.

Next year, the company will go even further, offering a consumer resources site to which companies can link. The shopper resources page will include such features as a gift finder, credit card and loan applications, and privacy information.


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