By Ariana Billingsley, SBTDC/PTAC counselor at East Carolina University
The Department of Defense Electronic Mall (DOD EMALL) is a congressionally mandated eCommerce platform that allows military and other authorized government customers to search and procure items from both government and commercial sources. The program is currently modernizing its software platform to improve the overall customer experience.
With a future designation of FedMall, the new and improved platform will include a marketplace pilot program with functionality similar to commercial marketplace systems, allowing independent vendors the ability to provide goods and services to government customers without having to enter into long-term contractual agreements with the U.S. Government. The marketplace will also include dynamic price functionality, providing pricing flexibility for government buyers and vendors alike. As this system is rolling out I’m sure there will be a lot of questions concerning the impact on current EMALL vendors as well as vendors interested in taking advantage of this platform.
1. What is FedMall?
FedMall will a web based online ordering platform meant to provide a full service eCommerce site to find and acquire goods from commercial and government sources for Federal, State and Local governments as well as other authorized buyers. It gives both large and small businesses the opportunity to supply their products 24/7 via a web based environment to multiple agencies across the globe.
2. What is FedMall MarketPlace Phase I?
The MarketPlace will allow vendors to upload catalogs without requiring a contract. Phase I of the MarketPlace will focus on office supplies, paid for by the Government Purchase Card (GPC), and limited to the micro-purchase threshold. Additional capabilities will be implemented in phases over a series of FedMall releases and will operate in parallel with FedMall capabilities. Vendors will pass through a streamlined application process and, if approved, can post items on the site from which authorized buyers can make purchases. The FedMall MarketPlace is not a substitute for contracts; it is a tool for buying only those things a buyer could acquire on the open market with his or her GPC.
3. Do I need a contract?
No, however, when you register at the FedMall site you will be asked for your Company POC, address, and CAGE Code. Once submitted, an automatic review will be conducted in the System for Award Management (SAM) to confirm you are authorized to carry out business with the Government. After confirmation, you will be required to review and agree to the MarketPlace Phase 1 Vendor Agreement and then upload your catalog.
4. How will vendors upload catalog?
Vendors will use FEDMALL’s Supplier Portal to upload catalogs. Functionality and processes for the FEDMALL Supplier Portal are still being finalized.
5. What if I do not have a CAGE code?
A CAGE Code is mandatory. You can register for one at SAM.gov
6. How do I receive my orders?
Vendors can receive orders in one of the following three ways: Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), cXML, and Electronic Data Interchange. PGP is an encryption tool that allows parties to exchange private and encrypted data. cXML protocols are encrypted and sent to the Vendor using an email client. EDI transactions are sent electronically to a Value Added Network (VAN). The VAN will then translate the data into a readable format for the Vendor.
7. Am I required to confirm receipt of the order? If so, how is this completed?
Receipt Confirmation is available in FEDMALL’s Supplier Portal. Functionality and processes for the FEDMALL Supplier Portal are still being finalized
8. What types of payment are accepted for FedMall MarketPlace Phase 1?
Only valid Government Purchase Cards will be accepted.
9. How do I get more information about FedMall MarketPlace?
- Call the FedMallHelp Desk Within the Continental United States (CONUS):1-877-DLA-CALL(1-877-352-2255)
- Outside the Continental United States (OCONUS)
- Select EMALL/FedMall from the options menu.
10. What are the plans for future phases of MarketPlace?
After the first release of MarketPlace, commodity items will be expanded to be more than office supplies. Vendors should expect this update to be offered to industry the first quarter of FY17.
The next full phase (Phase II) of MarketPlace will have clause logic built into the system and to allow purchases above the micro-purchase but below the simplified acquisition threshold.
11. How will vendors be informed of future MarketPlace Phases?
There will be banner messages on FedMall and updated FAQs identifying the specific enhancements.
12. Am I able to have an established contract in FedMall and still upload a catalog into the MarketPlace?
Yes, you are able to participate in both. However, you will be required to register and load your existing catalog into the MarketPlace.
13. Will vendors be able to sell AbilityOne items on MarketPlace?
AbilityOne products can only be sold by approved dealers. AbilityOne provides FedMall with an authorized vendor list and Procurement Item List.