Firstsource Corp. is an e-commerce solutions provider. Its Firstsource Connect unit designs purchasing hubs, connected to various product distributors, for businesses looking to use the World Wide Web to streamline their procurement processes. The firm also licenses access to its FSP platform, which it uses to power Firstsource Connect, to businesses wanting to conduct operations online. En Pointe Technologies Inc. owns 43.5 percent of the firm.
En Pointe Technologies acquired First Source International Inc.'s online reseller unit, known as firstsource.com, in April of 1998. At the time, firstsource.com 's primary activity was reselling computer and related hardware systems via the Internet to individuals and small and mid-sized companies. It was as a subsidiary of En Pointe Technologies that firstsource.com first began focusing on business-to-business (B2B) services. With B2B Internet sales outstripping business-to-consumer (B2C) Internet sales in the late 1990s, and many analysts predicting that online B2B sales eventually would exceed $1 trillion, many Internet resellers began focusing on business markets, particularly the services that those businesses would likely need to move operations online. According to a 1999 Computer Reseller News article, firstsource.com began preparing for this growth "by repositioning itself as an Internet portal for business-to-business transactions." Branching out from its initial focus of reselling information technology (IT) products at low prices to consumers and businesses, the firm began offering configuration, marketing, staffing, and IT services to small and medium-sized businesses, hoping to develop long-term relationships with clients.
Although IT products no longer formed the core of firstsource.com 's strategy, the firm didn't abandon them. Rather, it began beefing those up, along with its new service offerings, in an effort to become a one-stop e-business shopping site. By the end of 1999, firstsource.com had added office equipment, office supplies, and telecom equipment stores to the site's computer hardware and computer software stores. A 24-hour live customer service staff also had been put in place to field questions from purchasers. The site allowed users to search for specific products, or types of products and services; make comparisons to similar products or services; complete a purchase; and monitor shipping. Lists of top sellers and weekly sale items also were offered. To facilitate the searching, buying, and shipping of products, firstsource.com used the EPIC virtual warehousing platform. EPIC allowed users to peruse, in real time, a variety of products from the firm's multi-distributor inventory. The technology also handled price quoting and purchase ordering, shipment tracking, and returns.
Early in 2000, firstsource.com changed its name to Firstsource Corp. A few months later, the first-source.com site added a business resources section to its service-based offerings, which already included technology support services and financial services. The business resources store offered Web hosting and site design, business administration services, URL (universal resource locator) registration, business e-mail, company intranet development, and Web conferencing. The firm also launched its Firstsource Connect service. One of the first Firstsource Connect clients, TheBancorp.com, used the e-procurement service to research the pricing and availability of various products, develop billing reports, create budgets, and electronically approve or decline the purchase requests submitted by employees. In 2001, Firstsource allowed Solutions4Sure.com, a unit of Computers4Sure, to become the exclusive online seller of the nearly 300,000 products—including software, hardware, office equipment and supplies, and telecommunications equipment—it had been selling on firstsource.com.
Ferguson, Renee B. "Bulking Up E-Biz Platforms." eWeek. March 19, 2001.
"Firstsource Connect Customized Portals for the Web Marketplace." PC World. March 2001.
"Firstsource.com Adds 10th Internet Storefront." Business Wire. April 13, 2000.
"Firstsource.com Expands Online to Provide One-Stop Shopping for All Business Needs." PR Newswire. October 25, 1999.
Jastrow, David. "Internet Resellers Alter Web Strategies." Computer Reseller News. June 21, 1999.
——. "Plugging In—Firstsource Uses Multiple Sources to Its Advantage." Computer Reseller News. April 17, 2000.
SEE ALSO: E-commerce Solutions; En Pointe Technologies, Inc.