January 26, 2012

Free trade ... management software, that is

Developer of global trade management solutions is betting users will like a free, simplified version of its product enough that they'll upgrade to the real deal.

By DC Velocity Staff

There may be no free lunch, but there is, apparently, a free trade management software solution.

In mid-January, Amber Road (formerly Management Dynamics), a developer of global trade management (GTM) solutions, launched a free version of TradeWizards.com, which it describes as a cloud-based portal for global trade management. The free edition—a trimmed-down version of the company's flagship GTM product—includes a suite of nine research tools in three categories: restricted-party screening, product classification, and landed-cost calculation. It is limited to one user per company, who is entitled to 150 complimentary transactions per month. Currently, the free version is only available to users located in the United States and Canada. The paid version offers unlimited transactions and additional functionality in the areas of export and import controls and trade documents.

So why offer a free version of a product you're trying to sell? Amber Road is betting that once users try the simplified product, they'll want to upgrade.

The free version is geared toward companies that may just be getting started with global trade, or that have been importing and exporting for a while but are doing it manually, said Scott Byrnes, vice president of marketing, in an e-mail. "We wanted to set the ceilings high enough that small to medium-sized companies could get some real value out of it," he said. "We'd be perfectly happy if people used the free version for years, until they start importing and exporting enough volume to justify licensing the full-scale version."

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