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.

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More Than Half of U.S. Consumers Planning Holiday Shopping Early

| Mike O'Brien

Supply chain delays, ongoing carrier issues and expectations of late deliveries or out of stocks has driven a record number of U.S. consumers to begin holiday shopping earlier than ever, with 52% of them in an Oracle Retail survey saying they’ve already begun to do so. Major retailers like Target and Best Buy have kicked off promotions.

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LaserShip Acquires OnTrac for $1.3B, Looks Nationally

| Mike O'Brien

Regional carrier LaserShip is acquiring competitor OnTrac for $1.3 billion deal, in one fell swoop changing the equation in last-mile parcel delivery by giving the combined entity coverage of three-quarters of the continental U.S. as ecommerce demand continues to soar.

USPS letter carrier

USPS Delays Parcel Service Slowdown

| Mike O'Brien

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has decided to temporarily suspend a planned reduction in service level standards for First Class package delivery until after the peak holiday season, a week after the Postal Regulatory Commission which oversees it said the plan “lacked demonstrable evidence.”

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Home Depot First Customer for Walmart Delivery Service

| Mike O'Brien

Home Depot has signed on as the first retail customer of Walmart’s new service, GoLocal, with Walmart providing same-day and next-day delivery in select stores in Texas, New Mexico and Northwest Arkansas in the coming weeks, expanding thereafter.

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Pattern Raises $225M, Sees Acceleration as Path to Success

| Mike O'Brien

Pattern, which helps brands expand and grow revenue on marketplaces and other channels, has raised $225 million, bringing its total valuation to over $2 billion as it sees its role as a market accelerator as a more logical path to success than the growing ranks of Amazon brand aggregators.

Amazon Kicks Off Peak Holiday Season Two Months Early

| Mike O'Brien

Amazon has announced a raft of Black Friday-like deals designed to jumpstart the holiday spend quite a bit ahead of time and draft ahead of the rest of the retail pack, capturing early consumer interest and hopefully easing some of the massive network strain later in the season.

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SKUx Creates Digital Currency to Battle Coupon Fraud

| Mike O'Brien

Fintech startup SKUx is looking to create a new category of digital payment to address rampant fraud in online coupons, offers and promotions by using a distributed public ledger system to create serialized, one-time payments that can be tracked and traced.

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Wakefern Testing Robot Delivery in Pennsylvania

| Mike O'Brien

Independent grocery cooperative Wakefern Food Corp. is testing robot delivery at two ShopRite stores in Pennsylvania as retailers continue to explore automated options for augmenting traditional methods to make e-grocery fulfillment faster and more efficient. Stores in Yardley and Bethlehem are participating in the trial.

Why Yesterday’s Carrier Strategy Has Expired

| Mike O'Brien

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic-driven spike in ecommerce, a nagging labor shortage and supply chain issues have put capacity at a premium and left shippers struggling to keep up. This report explores ways today’s retail and ecommerce shippers must pursue a carrier strategy that would have seemed unthinkable just two years ago.