ASP Finds Shelf Life

On April 30, small business ASP NetLedger announced that it was releasing a box version of its Accounting Pro service through retail channels. At first glance, a shrinkwrapped version of an ASP-delivered application seemed a bit of an oxymoron. But, NetLedger explained, small businesspeople buy their software at Staples, Office Depot, OfficeMax and other office and computer supply stores. Reaching this disparate, but important, group was difficult through typical ASP sales channels.

Almost four months later, the retail approach is working, according to the company. Now part of the Oracle Small Business Suite (see Oracle, NetLedger Execute Textbook Deal), retail shoppers have purchased more than 1,000 Accounting Pro box sets since early May.

According to a company spokeswomen, the preliminary indications are that the
retail buyers are usually choosing their first accounting solution when they
purchase Accounting Pro. The typical customer has fewer than 10 employees and is part of a growing rather than an established company. In contrast, the online buyer is usually making a transition from an existing system.

The retail version of product includes four months of accounting and payroll service plus
five employee-access accounts. According to Oracle, the retail price of $59.95,
represents more than a 50 percent savings over the cost of these items purchased
separately online.

Included in the box are a product manual, a getting-started guide and a CD. The CD explains the benefits of the Accounting Pro system, and provides an overview of what the product does and a sign-up process.

The Oracle Small Business Suite (formerly NetLedger 1 System) provides companies, typically with
fewer than 100 employees, with integrated accounting, payroll, online bill paying, Web store, customer relationship management, human resources and customer-support applications.

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