Text Commercial Platforms, modern, streamlined, mission-focused purchasing in white on dark blue background with abstract cart icon on right

Purchasing guidance

Before you begin, please review the participating agencies table to look for your agency and additional information on how to participate.

Government purchase card holders must follow existing GSA SmartPay purchase card policies before purchasing. Review FAR 13.2 and 13.301, and consult your agency champion for additional guidance. The GSA SmartPay Government Purchase Card is the authorized method of payment for purchases on the awarded online platforms. The program is authorized for use exclusively by participating federal agencies and only for purchases in support of that agency’s mission.

Use of the program for personal purchases is expressly prohibited.

When purchasing through the Commercial Platforms program, you’ll find ease of access to key areas of compliance and a streamlined purchasing process.

Easy access to mandatory sources and small businesses

  • AbilityOne

    AbilityOne program logo in red and blue with a star

    Buyers must purchase products on the procurement list from an AbilityOne participating nonprofit agency. Participating online platforms offer AbilityOne products that are easily identifiable to the purchaser.

  • Small business

    Icon of a small building with shopping basket in blue for small business

    Buyers must consider items manufactured or supplied by small businesses. Participating online platforms have filters to help easily identify small business suppliers.


    UNICOR logo in dark blue with tagline, We're life changing.

    UNICOR is a mandatory source for purchases over $3,500, unless a waiver is granted. Follow your internal agency policy.

Supply chain risk management implementation

  • Restricting sales to any excluded vendor listed on SAM.gov
  • Incorporating Section 889, Part A and B, in the online platform contracts, for the platform providers themselves as offerors
  • Using existing commercial practices to protect against counterfeiting and better manage supply chain risk through proactive tools and processes
  • Ongoing monitoring of post-purchase spend data to identify questionable purchases and ensure strong education of buyers — and platforms — to prevent future issues

The Commercial Platforms program and priority sources of supply

Understanding your agency’s purchase card policies is important when using the Commercial Platforms program. To learn more, reach out to your agency’s primary POC. You can get additional guidance below as to where the program fits within the priorities of supply, but agency-specific policies may differ.

  1. Review mandatory sources.

    Mandatory source Description
    Personal Property Management System Government regulations mandate that federal agencies consider acquiring excess personal property first, before purchasing new items.
    UNICOR Federal Prison Industries, or FPI, was designated a mandatory source of federal supply for the products it manufactures. It is a mandatory source for purchases over $3,500, unless a waiver is granted.
    AbilityOne Program Federal agencies are mandated to source products and services from the Procurement List, a catalog featuring thousands of offerings from AbilityOne and authorized distributors.
    GSA Global Supply A requisition-based ordering program offering approximately 800,000 office supplies and tools.
  2. Review preferred sources, according to FAR 8.004(a).

    Preferred source Description
    Multiple Award Schedule Access over 12 million commercial supplies and services, meet small business goals, and comply with environmental and socioeconomic laws and regulations through our MAS program.
    Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative Strategically sourced products and services that leverage the government’s purchasing power to reduce costs and improve overall performance.
    GSA Advantage An online shopping and ordering system providing access to thousands of contractors and millions of products and services.

    NOTE: Prioritize this purchasing channel due to additional compliance benefits provided.

    Commercial Platforms program As a competitively awarded, multiple-award contract, the Commercial Platforms program provides access to routine commercial products through online platforms.
  3. Lastly, review open market sources, according to FAR 8.004(b).