Mike O'Brien

mobrien@accessintel.com / MikeOBmcm

Mike O’Brien has worked in journalism, marketing and public relations for … well, quite a while. At Multichannel Merchant he focuses on the world of direct-to-customer operations and fulfillment, editing MCM’s weekly O+F Advisor newsletter, and programs the annual Ecommerce Operations Summit conference. Previously Mike was a senior account executive for Marx Communications, a boutique public relations firm working with marketing and advertising technology companies. Other past work includes stints as a media relations consultant for a concert promoter, a marketing communications specialist for a pharma software firm, a research analyst covering corporate e-learning and a daily newspaper reporter on every beat imaginable – except sports.

UPS Buys Global Ecommerce Firm i-parcel

| Mike O'Brien

UPS announced today it has acquired U.S.-based global ecommerce enabler and logistics company i-parcel for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition complements UPS’s international cross-border logistics capabilities from the U.S. and U.K., now extending to more than 100 countries.

Growing Global 2015, Alibaba.com, Tmall, Taobao, ecommerce, global ecommerce, cross-border ecommerce

Alibaba an Ecommerce Force to Be Reckoned With

| Mike O'Brien

Concerning Alibaba’s global aspirations, the company has struck deals in 2014 with the French and Italian governments aimed at fostering ecommerce growth for merchants from those countries selling on Tmall, including providing them with enrollment support, online marketing and customer service support.

Sears, ecommerce, retargeting, target marketing, personalization, big data, big data analytics, data-driven advertising, data-driven marketing, ad technology, marketing technology

Sears Adds Returns, Exchanges to In-Car Pickup

| Mike O'Brien

To take advantage of the new return/exchange service, customers can visit sears.com, click on the customer service link, choose “returns and exchanges” and follow the prompts to identify the item. For an exchange, they select a new item and get an email confirmation when the replacement is ready for pickup.

Once at the store, they park in a designated In-Vehicle Pickup spot, and notify the store of their arrival via the app. A timer will start on the phone, and a Sears associate will arrive within five minutes and complete the return or exchange.

MetaPack, ABOL Software, acquisitions, retail, ecommerce, global ecommerce, shipping, operations and fulfillment

MetaPack Acquires ABOL Software Inc.

| Mike O'Brien

Among other things, the acquisition of ABOL will allow MetaPack to provide its customers with improved visibility into global shipments across carriers and countries. It also offers enhanced delivery intelligence and reporting to better understand delivery challenges like potential delays, so retailers can make adjustments in their supply chain to alleviate issues.

U.S. Postal Service, USPS, UPS, Parcel Select, shipping and delivery

Parcels – Including Groceries – The Future of USPS

| Mike O'Brien

“We have a very structured plan around all we’re trying to do to grow our package business,” said Cliff Rucker, vice president of sales for the USPS. “When you think about it, over one-third of our volume is gone since 2006 on the letter side, so that’s why we see packaging as a growth area.”

key performance indicators, KPIs, operations and fulfillment, warehouse/distribution Center, distribution center, direct-to-consumer, direct-to-consumer operations, performance metrics, employee productivity, employee coaching, manager training

O+F Advisor Distribution Center Roundup

| Mike O'Brien

News that Amazon will begin collecting sales tax in Minnesota starting next week has led to speculation that the company may open a warehouse, data center or some other operation in the state or buy an existing firm, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Online-only retailers don’t need to charge sales tax in a state unless they have physical presence or affiliated business there.

retail logistics, supply chain optimization, retail supply chain

Assets On Hand Among Criteria for Entering New Markets

| Mike O'Brien

Retailers considering whether to enter a new market via cross border with third-party logistics partners or with an in-country presence should consider factors like their cost of capital and inventory carrying policy, as well as what existing assets can be leveraged in that country, two experts told Multichannel Merchant.