January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

Fingerhut Lends Helping Hand To OrderTrust

Don Davis

Editor in Chief

Fingerhut Business Services Inc., a division of Fingerhut Cos. Inc., says it will resell OrderTrust Inc.'s order management services as a complement to its fulfillment services. Minnetonka, Minn.-based Fingerhut and Lowell, Mass.-based OrderTrust will perform joint development to integrate Fingerhut's fulfillment systems with OrderTrust's nationwide network, which provides order management services by integrating a merchant's points of order entry with its points of supply.

     The goal, say the firms, is that the order volume generated by Fingerhut companies and clients could help establish OrderTrust as the industry standard for e-commerce order management. OrderTrust hopes to process the majority of U.S. nonface-to-face transactions by the end of 2001, says Jim Daniell, CEO of OrderTrust. He adds that as the second-largest U.S. direct marketer, a major online retailer and a leading U.S. fulfiller, Fingerhut should rapidly accelerate the adoption of OrderTrust's network services and drive up its order volumes. He says online retail success in the next century will be determined not only through branding, but also through execution of backend order management and fulfillment.

     Meanwhile, OrderTrust has closed back-to-back rounds of equity financing totaling more than $33 million. Fingerhut led the financing with the investment of an undisclosed sum. Fingerhut's nonexclusive investment also includes a provision for a Fingerhut representative to join OrderTrust's board. The financing was completed with additional investments from Far West Capital Management, says OrderTrust. The company adds that the investment will be used for technology development and network infrastructure.

     Fingerhut provides comprehensive fulfillment services to many leading online retailers, including eToys, WalMart, and Levis. Fingerhut's parent company, Federated Department Stores, owns and operates online retailers Macys.com and Bloomingdales.com. OrderTrust says it has established connections with more than 600 merchants, suppliers, fulfillers and distributors and a total transaction processing volume of about 100 million in 1998

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