The General Services Administration offered e-commerce platforms the first opportunity to formally participate in plans to provide the government with its own online marketplace, as the agency released its formal request for proposals on the project Oct. 1.

The RFP is part of GSA’s planned proof of concept for an e-commerce platform, so the agency can start small in determining if such a platform would work in the federal space and what the best structure for that platform will look like.

“As federal procurement continues to evolve, simplifying how we purchase basic commodities will allow agencies to focus more on work that directly serves their missions,” said GSA Administrator Emily Murphy in a news release. “Federal agencies spent approximately $260 million using online portals last year, and it is critical that we use the Commercial Platforms program to better understand and manage this spend.”

Murphy previously told Federal Times that federal agencies already use their federal purchase cards to order needed goods from platforms like Amazon and eBay, without much oversight or insight into that spending and how it complies with federal regulation.

The proof of concept for a government platform will look at “multiple commercial e-marketplace platforms that can provide business-to-business delivery and process orders made by various federal entities via the government purchase card,” according to the RFP.

The solicitation will be open until Nov. 1, and GSA plans to conduct the proof of concept in early 2020.

Jessie Bur covers federal IT and management.

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