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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FedEx Outlines Integration Plan

| Mike O'Brien

FedEx executives this week announced plans to integrate its operating companies – ground, express and freight – to drive operational efficiencies and eliminate redundancies, with the hopes of more than recouping the one-time expense of $2 billion over five years to make it happen. Network 2.0 was unveiled during an investor’s day event.

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AB5 Upheld as Supreme Court Declines Case

| Mike O'Brien

The U.S. Supreme Court, in an end-of-term note, on Wednesday declined to hear a California appellate case that leaves in place AB5, a 2020 state law that calls for so-called gig workers to be reclassified as employees, causing a seismic shift in the state’s transportation sector, among others.

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Consumer Spending a Mixed Bag This Summer

| Mike O'Brien

Despite inflation fears, retailers are likely to see an increase in consumer spending this summer, with 61% planning to shop “holidays” like Prime Day, and 76% of them saying they’ll spend the same or more on the extravaganza as last year, according to data from Adobe Commerce.

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USPS Syncs Service Levels for Package Delivery

| Mike O'Brien

The U.S. Postal Service is shortening the promised service levels for two of its ground delivery products, syncing them with its First-Class Package Service (FCPS), a move the USPS says will drive efficiency by consolidating processing and transportation of volume from all three products.

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Shopify Launches Boatload of Apps, Pushes into B2B

| Mike O'Brien

Shopify is pursuing a new avenue of attack against Amazon, launching 100 new/updated apps including tools for merchants to drive B2B sales while also turning on social commerce via Twitter, in an effort to boost slowing DTC ecommerce revenue growth. The company said Shopify Editions represents a “connect-to-consumer” focus.

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Amazon Disputes It’s Running Out of Workers

| Mike O'Brien

A leaked Amazon memo from mid-2021 indicates the company feared running out of fulfillment workers by 2024, impacting its business growth prospects and vaunted level of service especially for Prime customers, according to a report in Recode that Amazon has downplayed.

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Borderfree Acquired by Global-e from Pitney Bowes

| Mike O'Brien

Borderfree, a provider of cross-border shipping acquired by Pitney Bowes in 2015, is being acquired by Israeli cross-border platform firm Global-e for $100 million in cash, about a quarter of its original price, the companies announced, adding the two will enter into a strategic partnership. The deal is expected to close in Q3.

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Prime Day Win Would Buoy Challenged Amazon

| Mike O'Brien

Amazon is looking for a big win from Prime Day 2022 (July 12-13) to help restore some mojo to a company unaccustomed to criticism for earnings challenges, overbuilt warehouses and a stock that shed 40% of its value in the past 12 months, pre-split. This is the first time since 2019 it’s been in its accustomed spot in mid-July.

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Visual Media Is Key to Ecommerce Success

| Mike O'Brien

The dynamic nature of ecommerce lets you bypass the constraints of the physical, delivering compelling, engaging visual media experiences. To cut through marketplace noise and win valuable mindshare, you must master visual communication. Learn how a media-first approach is a winning strategy in this MCM POV report.

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Amazon Aggregators See Deal Flow Dip in Q1

| Mike O'Brien

Amazon aggregators have seen massive investment and deal flow since 2020, but the activity has been slowing as the valuations of top sellers has increased, according to a report on M&A activity in the sector from investment banking firm Capstone Partners. There were just 30 acquisitions of major FBA brands in Q1 vs. 159 in all of 2021.