April 4, 2002, 12:00 AM

How Sundance’s drop shipping deals get down to even the smallest vendors

Sundance Catalog is sending orders to and tracking responses from artisans who produce merchandise in small quantities for Sundance via the web with a new CommercialWare product.


Drop shipping has typically been thought of as the way large suppliers handle order fulfillment for online retailers and catalogers. The merchants typically stocked items from smaller suppliers themselves and shipped out of their own warehouses, leaving the bulky or high-demand items to the manufacturers to fulfill. But the web is changing the drop shipping business.

Sundance Catalog Co., which sells via a catalog as well as on the web at SundanceCatalog.com, is using the new Collabrate.commerce product from CommercialWare Inc. to send orders to and track responses from artisans who produce merchandise in small quantities for Sundance. “All this requires is a computer with a browser,” says Donny Askin, CEO of CommercialWare. “In fact, the artisan could even go to the local Internet café to check for orders and report status.”

Askin says Sundance’s use of drop shipping with even small suppliers is part of a trend toward drop shipping for fulfillment. Always popular among direct merchants who don’t want to warehouse the goods or invest in inventory, drop-shipping is becoming more popular now, Askin says, as retailers are pressed for margin. “Retailers are looking for anything they can do to squeeze out expenses and get a better bottom line,” he says.


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