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World Commerce Online, FloraPlex Partner With Eliance

World Commerce Online and Eliance Corp. said they entered a strategic relationship to enable flower growers and wholesalers around the world to buy and sell fresh cut flowers online via World's FloraPlex system.

FloraPlex links growers, floral suppliers, wholesalers and floral retailers in an e-commerce network for the floral industry. The new agreement will integrate Eliance's comprehensive e-commerce payment solution with the FloraPlex Tradelink system.

"We are proud to offer an e-commerce solution that transforms traditional economic models into completely new models driven by Internet technology," said David Erickson, president and CEO of Eliance. "The system designed by FloraPlex is a prime example of how our digital economy is emerging and impacting an entire industry. The speed, simplicity, security and service provided through our e-commerce solution will revolutionize the future of the floral industry."

Traditionally growers had to issue terms of 30-45 days for payment. Using the FloraPlex Tradelink system, growers will be paid in seven days while allowing the wholesaler to still enjoy 30-day terms, the companies said. The system also will allow wholesalers to receive payments in seven days while extending terms to retailers. The system will allow retailers to rent online storefronts, selling flowers to consumers by credit card or online check.

The agreement with Eliance Corp. will provide the entire e-commerce back office, freeing Tradelink's creators to promote the service, bringing new wholesalers and growers online and expanding the business-to-business e- commerce model for the floral industry, executives said.

The e-commerce solution provided by Eliance includes 24/7 voice and data customer service, payment processing, transaction security, risk management, merchant account establishment, settlement and collections, and online reporting and business management tools. Financial arrangements were not disclosed.

"This agreement with Eliance Corp. was a critical link in the reality of worldwide e-commerce in the floral industry," said Bob Shaw, chairman and CEO of World Commerce Online. "Existing barriers to trading have come down."

Eliance, founded in Minot, N.D., in 1994, says it provides e-commerce back- office solutions to more than 10,000 businesses worldwide.

World Commerce Online was founded in 1996 to create global commercial networks and trading systems. FloraPlex is the first of those systems. The company also develops virtual private networks for companies, municipalities, institutions and associations. World Commerce Online intends to announce other E-Plex projects in the near future. E-nnovations is WCO's new interactive marketing technology that facilitates the use of immersive imaging to make three- dimensional interactive e-commerce systems.