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TIAS

A Few Modest Words about Ourselves ....

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Company Info
TIAS builds, hosts and manages e-commerce and ASP-based business management solutions for a wide variety of clients and industries.  The TIAS Internet-based commerce solutions enable B2B and B2C clients to safely and reliably cut e-business costs and grow sales revenue.  TIAS provides full-service, outsourced e-commerce solutions including commerce site development and hosting, online catalog systems, order management, inventory management, shipping, costing, system integration, fulfillment, e-marketing and customer service. 

TIAS entered the Internet-based commerce solutions market in April of 1995.  Initially focused on the $16 billion used products market, the company’s software offerings have been expanded during the intervening 8 years to support the volume and recurring sales markets.  The company currently serves customers in markets as diverse as software, textile products, antiques, art, collectibles, jewelry and crafts.

TIAS is the only web-based vendor of catalog systems to offer a complete store-management product.   Most online e-commerce stores (such as the Yahoo! Stores), are catalog management systems.   TIAS’ software base extends seamlessly from catalog creation and order capture, through inventory management, and warehouse management into end item shipping.  All TIAS software operates real-time, reporting up-to-the second store results – sales, costs, inventory – through the management dashboard system. All web-based software is provided on an ASP basis – the user of the system is required to make no investment in hardware or software beyond that needed for their personal computer to communicate with the Internet.  

TIAS provides a complete set of tools for inventory management and distribution.  The software product allows users to easily and seamlessly upload inventory from their e-commerce site to auction venues such as Yahoo! And eBay.

For the advanced user base, TIAS supports a rich range of tools that range from products for offline inventory data collection (with an eventual upload to the web) to a PC-based shipping module that simultaneously works with major shippers such as UPS, the USPS and the TIAS system to support high-volume shipping.  As with all TIAS software, results are reported real-time, allowing customers to understand the moment their product is shipped and giving management visibility into the productivity and performance of the warehousing operation.

The TIAS software is designed to handle a high volume of individually-identified items.  The TIAS marketplace for antiques and collectibles has grown into the single largest catalog of antiques and collectibles on the Web. This, the largest of the TIAS marketplaces, currently serves roughly 800 dealers and is comprised of roughly 600,000 unique active items (SKUs).  In support of that single marketplace, TIAS serves approximately 100,000 unique visitors a day, an estimated 10 million page views per month and 140 million hits per month.

Outstanding end-customer functionality and unparalleled product variety result in traffic levels so high that TIAS is consistently ranked in the top 200 retail e-commerce sites on the Web by authorities ranging from PCDataOnline.com to Forbes magazine.

TIAS does not compete for transactions with any TIAS community members and is a neutral participant in the distribution process. The Company does not own any inventory offered on the site and does not compete with any community members. TIAS merely facilitates the processing of transactions among the community’s members and the market. 

 

Strategic Relations
TIAS currently has contractual agreements with eBay, Yahoo!, Google, BuySellBid and Infospace to redistribute merchandise from the TIAS system on their sites.

TIAS systems are approved by the US Postal service and UPS to generate shipping labels, documents and to automatically log shipments onto the carrier’s system.

TIAS has relationships with a variety of data input houses, catalog distribution, mailing, and volume distribution warehouse and TIAS software interfaces seamlessly to these vendors.

System Features
The TIAS community is supported by the leading-edge proprietary TIAS software platform. This platform allows the use of “best of breed” application software for the various functional areas such as online ‘store’ creation, online ‘catalog’ maintenance, data base management, transaction processing, logistics management, off-system sales venue interfaces (such as auctions), credit processing, secure credit-card transaction clearing, inventory management, costing, shipping and management control.  The TIAS system allows businesses to create separately branded e-commerce exchanges.  Each exchange can consist of one or many multiple vendors, each a separate business entity.  While the most common application of this is in B2C ‘malls’ that host multiple ‘stores’, the TIAS software is equally usable in the B2B context such as wholesale distribution or member-based commerce exchanges.

  The TIAS software is designed specifically to address the needs of the market community that sells unique items.   Typical commerce systems are designed for the mass market supplied by recurring manufacturing operations.   In the very significant market for surplus and used product, it is common to find that each item offered for sale has unique characteristics – whether the item is a rare antique, a lot of surplus yarn or spare parts for a specific type of equipment.    Many items offered in this market are serialized and must be identified by serial number or other unique identifier throughout and after the selling process.  Almost alone in the online e-commerce community, TIAS offers a powerful set of features for selling and managing this type of inventory.

TIAS interfaces directly to the nationwide electronic clearing network through Verisign, enabling merchants to process transactions through their merchant accounts.   Verisign provides payment connectivity over the Internet between online customers, merchants, buyers, sellers, and the financial networks that move money between them.  TIAS employs the most advanced secure software encryption technology to protect purchasers and sellers throughout the purchasing process.   User names, passwords and transaction information is encrypted and protected as a matter of course.

TIAS supports other participants in the Internet e-commerce community with the publicly released FAST (Fixed-price and Auction Simple Transfer) protocol.  FAST is an "open" XML based protocol that allows digital commerce exchanges to "talk" to each other, exchanging inventory and transaction information so that inventory can be offered to the market.  FAST is system-independent and is designed to allow the TIAS inventory and commerce system to convey the status of online inventory as it is changed on a real-time basis to another (non-TIAS) inventory or commerce system.  While there are many possible uses of the FAST protocol, its primary application is to allow merchants to list inventory on more than one distributed computer system, whether two marketplaces within TIAS, one inventory management system and a TIAS marketplace, or two marketplaces, one on TIAS and one elsewhere.   

Specific features of the TIAS system include:

ASP-model Web-based product:  The TIAS system is designed for ASP-level usage.  With the exception of the PC based inventory-capture and shipping systems, the product is completely web-based and requires no software installation or maintenance on the part of the members, other than the installation of a standard web browser.   This gives the members the benefit of state-of-the-art software without the overhead or complexity of managing software development or hosting agreements.   TIAS members can create and manage their online catalog or store, publishing content and receiving, managing and shipping online orders with no investment other than that required for a standard personal computer. TIAS has an enviable history of new feature introduction and product enhancement, ensuring that members always have ‘best of breed’ site features.

Custom-designed e-commerce exchange groups (‘malls’):  The TIAS system allows customers to build out entire branded online commerce exchanges.  Each exchange is a discrete logical entity that offers customized store-building services to its members.  While the most common application of this technology is to create virtual online shopping ‘malls’, the feature is usable for any group of related commerce-based entities.

Store building technology: Using TIAS’ proprietary, forms-based software, a member of an exchange can build an online catalog or store in about 15 minutes. For a demonstration of a sample implementation of this technology and more information, visit http://www.makeashop.com.

Search technology:  Each TIAS member has its entire inventory available on the main page of the commerce exchange to which it belongs. Each member also has it's own individual search engine so the site's visitors can quickly find the product or service they are looking for!   The standard search criteria can be tailored by exchange, allowing purchasers to search by manufacturer’s product name, product category, SIC code, contract number, company type, company name or other criteria defined by the ‘owner’ of the e-commerce exchange.

Electronic Financial Interfaces:  Buyers are able to settle via purchasing cards and direct invoicing. TIAS interfaces directly to the nationwide electronic clearing network through Verisign, enabling merchants to process transactions through their merchant accounts.   Verisign provides payment connectivity over the Internet between online customers, merchants, buyers, sellers, and the financial networks that move money between them.  Verisign currently supports the following protocols

  • First Data Merchant Service (FDMS)

  • Paymentech (Salem)

  • Vital Processing Services

  • Nova Information Systems

The payment options offered TIAS merchants also include interfaces to payment services such as PayPal, BillPoint and BidPay as well as conventional money orders and checks.

Auction upload system: Each ‘store’ built in the TIAS commerce system has the ability to send inventory directly to offsite sales venues such as online auctions.  This gives merchants the ability to sell items at auction as well as at fixed price with all items listed under their own brand.  TIAS maintains agreements with all major off-site venues to ensure TIAS malls and merchants the widest possible market for their inventory.

The FAST API: TIAS has developed and supports the FAST data exchange protocol.  This is an open XML-based protocol that allows digital commerce exchanges to "talk" to each other.   FAST allows vendors to list unique items in several sales venues, but to exchange information about sales and inventory to ensure that a unique item is never ‘sold’ more than once.  The rich feature set allows sophisticated operations like inventory reservation, release and commitment to occur without incurring human overhead until those purchasing stages where personal interaction is required.

Business Management features:  the TIAS system offers each exchange member many sophisticated business management features.   The management dashboard gives every member real-time insight into their online business – open orders, month-to-date and year-to-date sales, inventory position and inventory aging.   The dashboard offers access points to the key operational reports for the store.  Every report is designed so that high-level information is presented first with successively more detailed levels of information are revealed on request down to individual item and sales records.

Order Management features:   The TIAS system includes a complete operational toolset for accepting orders, processing payments and communicating with customers.   State-of-the-art CRM features like the ability to send and file customer e-mails for each order and real-time customer visibility into order status reduce the cost of end-customer support while improving customer satisfaction.

Inventory Management features:  Sophisticated tools for real-time inventory allocation during order processing, inventory management and inventory analysis are among the key features of the inventory processing subsystem that are included as basic features for each on-line store.

Shipping:  The TIAS software includes tools for supply-and-demand evaluation, for creating warehouse documents (such as pick tickets and invoices) and for performing low-cost high-volume shipping.  TIAS shipping software is integrated with the order processing system (permitting the immediate notification of customers after shipment), with the credit processing system (orders are charged when the product is shipped, not when the order is accepted), with the shippers (to obtain tracking numbers and to request pickups) and with the management reporting system (allowing real-time evaluation of the warehouse operation).

Sales Reporting features:   The TIAS product includes ad-hoc reporting capability that allows reporting and inquiry against each e-commerce entities historical inventory orders database.   Order history by customer, by product / product group, by geographical area and by user-definable reporting period are all standard system feature as are cost and margin analysis tools.

Site promotion tools:  In addition to the standard features, TIAS provides a wide range of specialized tools for site promotion.  These include add-on options for custom keyword tailoring for optimum search engine placement, optional offsite links pages and site calendar/event features. One of the most popular features for improving retail customer loyalty – online coupons, discounts and specials has proven to pay for itself on most sites in a single usage.

Mailing list:  Each site is provided automatically with a simple e-mailing list product, but the add-on option for e-mailing list creation and management is unparalleled in its class.   Site owners can create general or highly target mailing lists from prior orders, customer opt-in lists, specialized name collection features (such as ‘ask a question’ or ‘request catalog’) and from purchased mailing lists.

Customer support:  TIAS offers comprehensive customer support to all TIAS members in utilizing the TIAS solutions and services.  TIAS customer support also serves end customers by providing audit facilities that monitor and report end-customer satisfaction levels to commerce exchange managers and individual exchange members.   TIAS software is interfaced to external call-center products, allowing users of the TIAS system to use external 7x24 call centers for capturing orders.

Hardware / Software Infrastructure
The TIAS database system runs on clustered Linux-based servers.  The architecture of the TIAS system is distributed and highly scaleable. Additional servers can be easily added to the cluster, increasing system capacity when required.

The TIAS physical computer systems are co-located at Above Net’s world-class facility in San Jose California.  This arrangement enables TIAS to benefit from Above Net’s direct-route backbone connectivity, huge bandwidth (122.4 Gbps), optimal routing programs and excellent site physical security, offering TIAS clients efficient, reliable and continuous system operation.

The TIAS software uses the open-source Linux operating system and the mySQL database.  The TIAS software product is wholly proprietary.

Contact Information
If you have questions about our service, please don't hesitate to give us a call at 1-888-OLD-STUF or drop an email message to info@tias.com.

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