C&W and Reality team up to service Web retailers

The services will range from Web design and hosting to customer relationship management and contact management as well as online credit and fraud verification, home delivery and logistics. By offering integrated and fully scalable infrastructure and fulfilment services, the partnership will allow Web retailers to focus on expanding their businesses, C&W said in a statement Thursday. Over time, the services will be extended to include wireless access as well as the purchase and delivery of non-tangible products, including digital content and information services. The first services are scheduled to become available in the United Kingdom and Europe before year’s end, from C&W’s recently opened hosting centre in Swindon, England. While the services will primarily be aimed at European retailers, another target market will be U.S.-based electronic-retail businesses looking to extend their marketing activities into the United Kingdom and Europe. Under the terms of an agreement, C&W will provide Internet connectivity and Web hosting via its global IP (Internet Protocol) network infrastructure, as well as e-commerce services and new online sales channels. Reality, meanwhile, will contribute its Web design and marketing expertise. Through Experian, its sister company, Reality will also provide customer management, data mining and credit verification resources. In addition, Reality will also provide warehousing, logistics and delivery services through its home delivery network in the United Kingdom and IP-enabled call centres. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The alliance aims to tap the market opportunity among Europe’s Web retailers, which combined are expected buy services worth more than US$10 billion within five years, C&W said. For Manchester, England-based Reality, which provides logistics, e-commerce and customer management services to both online and conventional direct sellers in the U.K., the partnership with C&W offers an opportunity to expand globally, the statement said. Cable & Wireless, in London, can be reached at http://www.cwplc.com/. Reality, in Manchester, England, is at http://www.realitygroup.com/.