GSA Advantage is an online shopping and ordering system developed within the GSA (U.S. General Services Administration). Its mission is to offer an efficient, streamlined purchasing portal for federal agencies to obtain the services and goods needed. The objective of creating this service was basically threefold:
Anyone can look through GSA Advantage to see and compare the different goods and services offered. The government describes this service as the federal government’s leading online shopping store from where millions of commercial goods and services can be accessed online.
Purchasing agencies access the services and goods available in GSA Advantage via the GSA Advantage website. The site promotes the services or products like other online merchants. Agencies wanting to make purchases can shop by supplier, descriptive terms or category. The website even provides a detailed product description including the GSA negotiated pricing for every item. This detail is accessible to the public and needs no pre-authorization to view. The portal only needs an agency to ‘log in’ with a username and a password for initiating the purchase.
After a purchase is initiated by a buyer, the system produces an email order that is sent to the merchant. The contractor then logs onto the website and accepts/rejects the order. All information required for order processing is offered, including the payment detail that is generally made with SmartPay. After the goods/services have been shipped, the contractor logs into the site again, confirms the shipment of the order, and then enters the shipping tracking number. That marks the end of the transaction process. There is no need to communicate with the actual buyer.
With GSA Advantage, you can be sure that you will get GSA negotiated pricings from approved sources of the General Services Administration. Although the service benefits only those federal agencies that have access to the GSA Advantage programs, two federal acts have permitted local and state governments to have access to and buy from this service.
GSA AAC (Activity Address Code)
GSA GSA SmartPay® (a commercial purchase card, which can be used all across the government), or
A DoDAAC (Department of Defense Activity Address Code)
Local and state governments can purchase on GSA Advantage by using a credit card issued by local or state government.