May 29, 2008, 12:00 AM

FansEdge helps web sites score their own online sports stores

Dreams Inc., which operates sports memorabilia retail web site FansEdge.com, figures it knows a thing or two about sports e-commerce. And now it’s offering to share its expertise with other sites looking to get in on the action.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

After 10 years in the business, Dreams Inc., which operates sports memorabilia retail web site FansEdge.com, figures it knows a thing or two about sports e-commerce. And now it’s offering to share its expertise with other sites looking to get in on the action.

Dreams Inc. began offering a sports e-commerce platform to web sites in November as part of its Dreams Retail Solutions unit. Seven months later, about 20 web sites use the technology to power their online sports stores, says Kevin Bates, president of Dreams Retail. Clients include Chicago radio sports station 670thescore, the official web site of the Orange Bowl Stadium and the sites for sports celebrities Dick Butkus and Emmitt Smith. Bates says Dreams Retail is finishing up development for another nine stores and is adding about three new clients a month.

Sites that contract with Dreams Retail for their online stores have access to the merchant’s 180,000 SKUs-ranging from bobble heads to engraved flasks to baby rompers. Dreams Retail operates two warehouses in South Florida and Chicago that store the company’s more than $20 million in inventory.

Dreams Retail built its e-commerce technology in-house and handles all e-commerce responsibilities for its customers-from inventory and logistics to order management and sales and marketing, Bates says. The vendor has even recruited former Major League Baseball sales and marketing director Jon Steinberg to head up its sales unit.

“We handle everything from soup to nuts,” Bates says. “We host it and we manage it. We are a complete full-service solution.” Web sites have the option to customize their stores by adding their own navigation, shipping rules and payment methods, Bates says. Stores can be up and running in as little as two weeks, but more customized stores take longer. Pricing for stores is based on a revenue-sharing agreement with no upfront charges for building and launching the platform, Bates says.

FansEdge Inc. is No. 216 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. Its 2007 web sales grew 33.3% to $40 million from $30 million a year earlier.

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