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 Microsoft logos

Microsoft, FedEx Expand Partnership

| Mike O'Brien

FedEx and Microsoft are expanding their partnership to offer “logistics as a service” to retailers and brands, including using the latter’s Dynamics 365 order management system to glean data insights from the 17 million packages passing through the FedEx network each day.

Kohl's exterior feature

Kohl’s Entertaining Two Takeover Bids

| Mike O'Brien

Amid activist pressure, struggling retailer Kohl’s has been approached by two different private equity firms with buyout offers, the company has acknowledged based on media reports in CNBC and the Associated Press, valuing its stock at up to a 39% premium to Friday’s close.

e-grocery bin

E-Grocery Performance Drops for Conventional Grocers

| Mike O'Brien

Conventional grocers saw a nearly 7% drop in e-grocery sales on a same-store basis during the 12 weeks ending Sept. 28, 2021, according to a new report from Brick Meets Click, due to a 3.1% decrease in orders combined with AOV dropping nearly 4% as the pandemic effect lessened.

Exotec SkyPod feature

Robot Maker Exotec Raises $335M, Reaches $2B Valuation

| Mike O'Brien

Warehouse robotics firm Exotec has raised $335 million in a Series D funding round, reaching a valuation of $2 billion as the company looks to expand its business in North America, Europe and Asia and hire 500 engineers by 2025 to enhance capabilities like order picking and add unloading.

Same Day Delivery to be Across the Board By 2025

| Mike O'Brien

Nearly all retailers plan to offer same-day delivery by 2025, compared to just 35% today, according to a survey conducted by last-mile delivery platform Bringg. The December survey of 500 retailers from the U.S., Canada, the UK, Germany, France and Italy found 99% of respondents planned to offer same-day in the next three years.

GS1 QR code scan feature

GS1 Creates Readiness Kit for 2027 2D Barcode Adoption

| Mike O'Brien

Supply chain standards body GS1 has released a readiness test kit to help retailers, brands and manufacturers and solution providers prepare for a 2027 transition to data-rich 2D barcodes. While some retailers have balked at the transition cost of upgrading POS hardware and software, GSI said most are onboard with the program.

Amazon Bessemer FC feature

Amazon Union Vote Redo Starts Feb. 4

| Mike O'Brien

The National Labor Relations Board on Tuesday ordered a second union vote at an Amazon fulfillment center in Bessemer, AL in the eye of a major labor battle, with the vote to begin by mail-in ballot on Feb. 4. Amazon has agreed to not pursue reprisal actions against employees for union organizing activities, per an NLRB agreement.

holiday shopping box

Holiday Ecommerce Spending Up 8.6%, Adobe Says

| Mike O'Brien

Despite massive out of stock levels due to supply chain and inventory issues, U.S. holiday ecommerce spending hit a record $204.5 billion over the 2021 holidays, up 8.6%, according to Adobe’s Digital Economy Index, with 38 days where over $3 billion exchanged hands, vs. 25 such days in 2020.

UPS van in snow holiday peak season feature

Carriers Come Through for Christmas

| Mike O'Brien

After a hairy 2020 peak season, with capacity at a premium and late parcel orders piling up, on-time performance by the big three carriers was strong, helped by a lot of early shopping from consumers based on earlier promotions, as well as improved levels of in-store activity.