September 13, 2007, 12:00 AM

Better fulfillment pushes up sales at Alibris

Online book dealer Alibris.com has turned over most of its domestic and foreign book shipping to UPS. The company is growing at 30% annually and attributes much of its success to supply chain management via UPS.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

Online book dealer Alibris.com has turned over most of its domestic and foreign book order fulfillment to UPS. Overall, UPS services are responsible for the majority of the more than 1 million shipments that Alibris sends each year.

Alibris.com, No. 117 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, is an online exchange for consumers looking to buy or sell new, used, rare and out-of-print books. It also connects books, music and movie shoppers to independent sellers in 45 countries. Alibris lists more than 75 million used, new and out-of-print books.

Alibris uses UPS for small package shipments of large orders-mostly to commercial buyers-and uses UPS Mail Innovations for shipping consumer orders. Mail Innovations is a UPS company that streamlines the processing of U.S. mail, with the final delivery being handled by the U.S. Postal Service.

“UPS provides a comprehensive supply chain and delivery solution for Alibris,” says Mark Nason, vice president, operations, at Alibris. “Not only does UPS handle our fulfillment needs and get packages to our customers on time, but they have really enhanced our reputation and helped us to grow our business at the same time.”

On average, since 1998, Alibris has grown 30% year-over-year, Nason says.

Many of Alibris’ sellers in Western Europe require orders to be consolidated, repackaged, custom invoiced and shipped overseas. For those shipments heading to the U.S., Alibris works with UPS’ Supply Chain Solutions unit. The company consolidates multiple orders at London’s Gatwick Airport and manages air freight shipments to the U.S. and Canada. The process relies on UPS’ use of the Internet to manage order logistics.

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