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 Reportedly Slashing Prices on Express Service

| Mike O'Brien

Close on the heels of its decision earlier this month to cut ties between Amazon and its Express air delivery unit, FedEx is reportedly offering big discounts on the service to draw in more ecommerce business and take it away from rival UPS, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Kroger Pilots 30-Minute Grocery Deliveries in Cincinnati Area

| Mike O'Brien

In the never-ending quest for delivery immediacy, grocer Kroger is testing out 30-minute deliveries in its home market of Cincinnati, cutting the promised time from Amazon’s Prime Now in half. Called Kroger Rush, the service costs $5.95 per order, with the first order free, and requires an app download.

Shopify Launches Fulfillment Network for SMB Merchants

| Mike O'Brien

Shooting across Amazon’s bow with its FBA program, Shopify is going all-in on ecommerce fulfillment, tapping 3PL partners to provide two-day delivery across the U.S. for merchants on its ecommerce platform, many with physical stores, while letting them keep customer data and a branded packaging experience.

FedEx Expands Pickup Network with Dollar General Partnership

| Mike O'Brien

FedEx has partnered with discount retailer Dollar General, offering dropoff and pickup services at 8,000 Dollar General stores by the end of 2020, giving it rural penetration it lacked. Along with its own stores and partnerships that also include Walgreens, Kroger and Albertsons, FedEx now has a network of 62,000 locations.

South Dakota vs. Wayfair, One Year Later

| Mike O'Brien

One year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in South Dakota vs. Wayfair forever changed the ecommerce taxation landscape in the U.S. In the latest MCM CommerceChat podcast, we talk with Mike Bernard, chief tax officer at Vertex, about the ripple effects from the ruling impacting the entire ecommerce ecosystem.

Target, Walmart Find Fresh Ammo in Grocery Wars

| Mike O'Brien

After weeks of concentrating its fire on Amazon, Walmart is now dealing with a flank action from Target as the latter has fully integrated its Shipt same-day delivery service with Target.com. Walmart, for its part, just launched a $98 per year subscription program for same-day grocery delivery, a service that normally costs $9.95 per order.

Ecommerce Packaging and the Sustainability Imperative

| Mike O'Brien

Packaging is the last touchpoint of an ecommerce order, and it’s also a branding vehicle that has to protect your product. Sustainability is another imperative, as tons of excess materials end up in landfills and customer perception is a concern. Learn what brands are doing and how innovation plays a role in sustainability efforts.

USPS DIM Changes Set to Go into Effect on June 23

| Mike O'Brien

Five months after it was initially scheduled to go into effect, the U.S. Postal Service will change how it calculates dimensional weight pricing while expanding DIM pricing to all zones across its Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail and Parcel Select products. The USPS is also lowering its DIM divisor from 194 to 166, increasing the cost.

E-Grocery, Meal Kit Spend Driving Cold Storage Demand

| Mike O'Brien

Demand from e-grocery and meal kit sales will lead to development of 70 million-100 million sf of cold storage space over the next five years, up from 214 million square feet, according to a new report from commercial real estate firm CBRE. The 18-29 year old age group is the fastest growing in terms of e-grocery activity.

UPS Offers ShopRunner Trial to My Choice Members

| Mike O'Brien

Five months after investing in two-day ecommerce delivery and returns service ShopRunner, UPS is partnering with the company, offering a year’s free subscription to the 47 million U.S. members of its My Choice program. ShopRunner’s 100+ retail partners include Ann Taylor, Bloomingdale’s, Chico’s and Kate Spade New York.

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