IQ News: E-Comm-O-Matic: Firm Offers Prefab Web Shops

Open your own little store on the Web for $40 a month?
That’s what San Diego-based Sitematic Corp. is promising small businesses, with a Web-based, do-it-yourself application that allows them to tap into the burgeoning e-commerce arena. Today Sitematic introduced versions 2.0 of Sitematic Express and Sitematic Catalog. The company claims its tools make it possible for a small business without technical resources to build a professional-looking and functional Web site in under an hour.
“Small businesses need a solution they can understand in their terms,” said Sitematic senior vice president of marketing and business development Steve Mitgang. “Even if they’re not technology persons, they can get it right away.”
When Vincent Bocchimuzzo, a marketing consultant in Westchester County, N.Y., decided to open an online store selling vitamin B6-free supplements, he discovered how pricey such endeavors can be. “I’d been talking to Web designers,” he said, “and the quotes were anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500. If you don’t have the knowledge, you don’t know how much things should cost.” His Sitematic-produced and hosted store will open later this month.
The Express application lets users modify Sitematic’s 100 templates via HTML, and provides e-mail to fax capability. Catalog 2.0 lets users modify catalog prices on the fly, include supplemental purchases such as gift wrapping and specify shipping options. Merchants log onto a secure server to pick up orders which they process themselves offline. There are three size options: $39.95 per month for catalogs with less than 20 items, $49.95 per month for less than 40 items and $69.95 for up to 60 items.
Mitgang said Sitematic now hosts approximately 1,000 sites. He said, “The primary model for us is to work with partners who have relationships with small business people,” such as local Yellow Pages. Bocchimuzzo added, “I think we’ll see a lot more people getting on the Internet because of companies like this.”