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In the world of brick-and-mortar stores, location plays a significant role in the success or failure of a business. But what about government contracting, where most business transactions take place online? Is location still important? You bet your Benjamins it is! However, in government procurement, the adage "location, location, location" refers not to your business address but to where you sell your products and services online. Many business owners don't realize that solicitations published on sam.gov represent only a small fraction of government purchases. Hence, if you want to get your goods and services in front of government buyers, you must understand their preferred way of shopping. Here are a few examples of stores that government buyers frequent:
The SAM Store (sam.gov): While this is the first market you'll likely get involved in, it's not always the first place where government buyers post their procurement needs. These needs are come in a form of Contract opportunities of federal business opportunities greater than $25,000, including synopses of proposed contract actions, solicitations, and associated information that can be accessed electronically by the public and the sellers. Businesses registered in SAM.gov may compete to be awarded federal contracts.
The GSA Store: On the other hand, the General Services Administration (GSA) store refers to GSA's Federal Supply Schedules, operates a little differently. Here, the GSA brings together vendors (after an intense vetting process) in one convenient location and negotiates prices on behalf of buyers across the federal government. The GSA store is like going to the "virtual mall" for government buyers. The primary location of the GSA store is GSA Advantage. You can visit this shop yourself to see the assortment of products and services offered for sale in this marketplace. The Agency Store: The agency store is the first-place buyers typically look when they need a product or service to get their job done. This marketplace includes existing agency-specific contract vehicles and inventory held within agency-owned warehouses and supply departments. For example, when the DoD buys to replenish stock, the bulk of their buying activity goes through The DLA Internet Bid Board System. These are just a few of the places where the Federal government buyers "go to market." Other markets include but are not limited to stores like Unison Global's Reverse Auction Marketplace, and NASA's SEWP marketplace. Additionally, large e-commerce platforms like Amazon are increasingly becoming "go-to" marketplaces for virtual buying activity for small purchases.
If you want to get your products and services in front of your target customers, do your homework and figure out where you should have presence in the online world of government procurement to get the most traffic from government buyers.