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.

Wix Creates Takes Aim at Shopify with Enhanced Ecommerce Solution

| Mike O'Brien

Website design and builder firm Wix has enhanced its ecommerce solution by adding a number of capabilities, taking aim at market leader Shopify by giving SMBs an entire raft of tools to set up and run their e-shop without breaking the bank. Wix said the COVID-driven explosion in ecommerce accelerated its development plans.

FedEx Beats Q4 Expectations, Driven by Massive Surge in Ecommerce

| Mike O'Brien

FedEx surprised to the upside in Q4, its laser focus on ecommerce capabilities in recent years paying off in terms of responsiveness to massive online buying, even as service stumbles were reported in a couple states. It seemed none the worse for having parted ways with Amazon in 2019 to seek more profitable customer relationships.

MCM CommerceChat Podcast

Coming EU VAT Updates and Their Impact, Explained

| Mike O'Brien

The European Union is making sweeping updates to how retailers need to calculate Value-Added Tax (VAT) when selling goods into its member countries, effective July 1, 2021. Peter Boerhof, EU VAT director for Vertex, explains the various changes and their significance, and the impact for companies selling goods into Europe.

Postmates Weighing Either IPO or Being Acquired, Possibly by Uber

| Mike O'Brien

Postmates is considering either an IPO or an acquisition by Uber to augment the latter’s own Uber Eats delivery services as its core ride hailing suffers during the pandemic, according to several media reports. The fourth largest U.S. food delivery service has also received a second offer from a special purpose acquisition company.

Amazon’s Anti-Counterfeit Crimes Unit Includes Former Prosecutors

| Mike O'Brien

Amazon is taking a serious run at counterfeit sellers on its marketplace, with the creation of a Counterfeit Crimes Unit that includes former federal prosecutors, investigators and data analysts. The company said it has limited counterfeit complaints to 0.1% of items listed, but legislators and media investigations have still taken it to task.

MCM CommerceChat Podcast

Squaring the Circle of Retail Sales Gains and Massive Job Loss

| Mike O'Brien

As consumer spending dwindles, retail chains struggle and bankruptcy filings mount up. Yet retail and food sales rose a record 17.7% in May, and discount chains are flourishing. How do we account for this? Brett Rose, founder and CEO of United National Consumer Suppliers, shares his thoughts in this MCM CommerceChat podcast.

shoppers on retail queue covid-19

May Retail, Food Sales Up a Record 17.7%; Ecommerce Jumps 30%

| Mike O'Brien

Retail and food sales jumped a record 17.7% in May compared to April, according to figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, a hopeful sign of a recovery from the ongoing effects of the pandemic, after tanking an adjusted 16.4% in the March-to-April period. Ecommerce posted strong gains, increasing 30% in May from the previous month.