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.

FedEx Ground driver

Amazon Restricts FedEx for Seller Fulfilled Prime

| Mike O'Brien

A decline in delivery performance in certain lanes has led Amazon to restrict use of FedEx Ground and Home Delivery for Seller Fulfilled Prime orders, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Overall on-time performance of carriers is already being challenged even ahead of the traditional start of peak season.

FreshDirect truck feature

Ahold Delhaize Acquires Majority Stake in FreshDirect

| Mike O'Brien

Dutch supermarket company Ahold Delhaize, owner of Giant and Stop & Shop, has acquired a majority stake in Bronx, NY-based delivery provider FreshDirect, giving it a leg up on ecommerce fulfillment as e-grocery is exploding amid the pandemic. Centerbridge Partners is also acquiring a 20% stake in FreshDirect.

MCM CommerceChat Podcast

Dustup Between California Tax Authority and FBA Sellers, Explained

| Mike O'Brien

The Online Merchants Guild is suing California’s taxing authority for holding Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) sellers liable for back sales tax. The issue: Is inventory stored in California by Amazon, which in many cases the individual sellers many not even be aware of, taxable? Scott Peterson of Avalar helps us unpack the issue.

curbside pickup sign omnichannel

Pandemic Highlights Omnichannel Shortcomings

| Mike O'Brien

The ability to delivery a high-quality omnichannel experience has never been more critical than during the post-pandemic era, but most brands aren’t prepared to meet consumer expectations, according to a report from NewStore. Not surprisingly, providing safety and convenience were atop the list of winning practices cited.

USPS delivery vans

ShipMatrix Service Aims to Address Carrier Capacity Gap

| Mike O'Brien

ShipMatrix, a provider of software and services for parcel shippers, has created a new offering that aims to address the massive problem of a shortfall in major carrier capacity this holiday season by making it more attractive for shippers to use the U.S. Postal Service for lightweight items.

walmart fulfillment center

Walmart Leverages Tech to Quickly Launch Popup FCs

| Mike O'Brien

Walmart is launching 42 popup fulfillment centers within existing U.S. retail distribution centers to help handle the peak fulfillment load during November and December, leveraging technology to route orders for local fulfillment and handling up to 30% of its holiday volume.

Singles Day 2020 feature

U.S. Sellers Outperform During Singles Day 2020

| Mike O'Brien

Boding well for the holiday spend here, the U.S. was the top seller of goods during Alibaba’s Singles Day 2020, which raked in $116 billion combined on Alibaba and JD.com. Alibaba itself reported $75.28 billion yuan in GMV, while JD.com said its Singles Day GMV was $40.72 billion. Sales from U.S. retailers topped $5 billion.

Amazon Flex driver in trunk feature

Amazon Flex Creates Rewards Program to Incent Drivers

| Mike O'Brien

Amazon is adding perks for its legion of thousands of crowdsourced delivery drivers through the Flex program, creating a rewards program that includes things like a cash-back debit card and the ability to earn access to more desirable routes and slots.

holiday packages at the door feature

Adobe Predicting Busy Santa: Holiday Ecommerce Sales Jumping 33%

| Mike O'Brien

In the peak holiday season like no other, Adobe is calling for a 33% increase in holiday ecommerce sales from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, hitting a record $189 billion, equal to two years’ growth from a single year, as retailers, carriers and solution providers alike gear up for a blowout.