GSA's plan to scale up commercial platforms program hits the street

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The program currently allows 25 federal agencies to conduct small-scale acquisitions of up to $10,000 each on platforms like Amazon and Overstock.

The General Services Administration is seeking proposals to scale up a popular purchasing program that allows government buyers to make small-scale acquisitions with purchasing cards on commercial platforms like Amazon and Overstock.

Once dubbed "Amazon for government," a pilot of the business-to-business online commerce program quickly grew to include at least 40,000 participants across 25 federal agencies. 

GSA reported strong customer satisfaction for the initial pilot, which allowed buyers to conduct up to $10,000 acquisitions on Amazon, Overstock and Thermo Fisher Scientific, with 90% of surveyed users citing competitive pricing and overall satisfaction.

GSA estimated the potential addressable market for the program to fall between $1 billion to $2 billion and wrote in a request for proposals dated Wednesday that that "current feedback from agency participants has been very positive with buyers stating that the program has saved them time by helping them with guided buying options, supply chain risk management, and other compliance areas in the open market space."

GSA established the pilot in 2018 at the insistence of Congress with a goal of streamlining the often time-consuming procurement process for government agencies by offering access to more than 11,000 pre-approved contracts. 

The agency is seeking to prioritize the customer experience while ensuring providers meet requirements around third party supplier management and cybersecurity, as FCW previously reported. Companies must be able to bar certain service providers including certain Chinese technology firms, like Huawei Technologies Company, and other excluded entities listed on

GSA is asking providers to answer questions around their customer experience marketing research and other specifics about their platforms, from reviews and listed product information, to socioeconomic capabilities and filtering options.

The government also wants to know how buyers can successfully use their purchasing cards throughout the acquisition process on certain programs, and what happens in events involving cancellations, partial fulfillments and large quantities. 

Responses are due Jan. 27 at 10:00 a.m.