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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Walmart Acquires Virtual Dressing Room Firm Zeekit

| Mike O'Brien

Making a bigger push into selling fashion online, Walmart said it is acquiring Israeli virtual dressing room provider Zeekit for an undisclosed sum. The owner of acquired fashion brands Eloquii, Moosejaw and Bonobos is looking to make the online clothing shopping experience more fun, while also cutting down on returns.

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Walmart Concerned About Slipping Grocery Position

| Mike O'Brien

When it comes to the grocery wars, Walmart execs are concerned about the company’s tenuous number one position as well as losing share to fierce competitors, according to brutal self-assessments in a leaked memo and presentation from February obtained by Recode. There are also worries that Instacart is pulling even on e-grocery.

MCM Outlook 2021: Past the Pivots to Ecommerce Operations Efficiency

| Mike O'Brien

Now that the challenges of the lockdown era are behind, and disruptions have solidified into new consumer behaviors and business practices, what’s next for ecommerce operations? In our annual MCM Outlook report, we talk to retail leaders and industry experts to drill down into how companies are faring and what’s working.

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Blue Yonder Being Acquired by Panasonic

| Mike O'Brien

Capping a relationship going back three years, Panasonic will acquire supply chain software firm Blue Yonder, formerly JDA Software. It formally joins together Panasonic’s edge computing, sensor and IoT capabilities with Blue Yonder’s autonomous supply chain solution, solving complex logistics and fulfillment challenges.

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Amazon Fake Review Scam Involved Over 200,000

| Mike O'Brien

The cybersecurity team at SafetyDetectives uncovered a database leak that appears to have exposed more than 200,000 people involved in a scam where Amazon vendors exchanged free products for fake reviews. The server, based in China, contained more than 134 million messages between 3P sellers and reviewers.

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ModCloth Acquired by Nogin from Go Global

| Mike O'Brien

Nogin, a company that helps brands improve their performance by providing a host of outsourced services, is doing its first acquisition with ModCloth, a year and a half after it was acquired by retail investment firm Go Global from Walmart. Terms were not disclosed. Nogin’s CEO said the company is looking to do more brand acquisitions.

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Ecommerce Reaches 19% Global Penetration in 2020

| Mike O'Brien

Ecommerce penetration worldwide increased from 16% in 2019 to 19% in 2020, driven by the pandemic-fueled shift toward online purchases, according to a UN agency report. Global ecommerce sales, including both B2C and B2B, were up 4% to $26.7 trillion, representing 30% of global GDP.

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Pickle, Robotic Arm for Fast Trailer Unloads, Picks Up Funding

| Mike O'Brien

Pickle, a startup that grew out of a lab at MIT and created a robotic arm that can unload up to 1,800 boxes an hour from a trailer, has raised $5.75 million to date and picked up 3PL and parcel shipping clients who have a need for speed. Dill can handle the 1,800 items per hour to a sorter, or 1,000 an hour directly to a putwall.

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Amazon Logistics Increased Capacity 50% in the Past Year

| Mike O'Brien

Amazon has increased its capital expenditures by 80% in the past year, including continuing expansion of Amazon Logistics such as new cargo planes, trailers and linehaul trucks and adding to its massive Delivery Service Partner (DSP) program. All told, Amazon has increased its logistics capacity by 50% in the past year alone.

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USPS Rolls Out Plans to Handle 2021 Peak Season Surge

| Mike O'Brien

The USPS announced a number of measures aimed at addressing peak season surges later this year, after it got buried in a deluge of holiday parcels in November and December, many of them handed off from UPS and FedEx. This includes 138 new pieces of sortation equipment and replacing mail sorting equipment at 18 facilities.