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.

MCM CommerceChat Podcast

How to Effectively Managing Your Brand Messaging in a National Crisis

| Mike O'Brien

How should brands be managing their messaging at this sensitive time, expressing empathy without overdoing it?
Deb Gabor, CEO of brand strategy consultancy Sol Marketing, has led brand and crisis strategy engagements for Dell, Microsoft, HomeAway and others. She discusses brand messaging do’s and don’t’s in the days of COVID-19.

J. Crew, Madewell Parent Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection

| Mike O'Brien

Chinos Holdings, parent of preppy clothing retailer J. Crew and women’s apparel and accessories seller Madewell, filed Chapter 11 as part of a restructuring plan that calls for converting $1.65 billion of its debt to equity and securing $400 million in loans. This is the first major retailer to file for bankruptcy during the coronavirus crisis.

Roundup: Retail, Malls Reopen Slowly, Midsize Players Get Fed Relief

| Mike O'Brien

Retail was a mixed bag this week, as over a dozen states have begun to slowly reopen, working to come out the other side of the COVID-19 shutdown. Some retailers and malls are doing the same, hoping that enough returning shoppers and their pent-up demand for goods will help with massive cash flow and viability challenges.

Kendra Scott’s Fast Rollout of New Omnichannel Tactics Amid COVID-19

| Mike O'Brien

A decision by the leadership team at jewelry retailer Kendra Scott to invest in an order management system ahead of last year’s peak season was a critical element enabling the company to quickly turn its fleet of stores into fulfillment centers and initiate curbside pickup, after shutting them down to the public due to COVID-19.

MCM CommerceChat Podcast

Needed Now: Real-Time Data Sharing Across Ecommerce Logistics Partners

| Mike O'Brien

In this MCM CommerceChat podcast, we talk to Matthew Cowan, general partner of Next47, a Siemens-backed venture firm that has invested in startups including last mile platform Bringg and on-demand transportation mapping service provider rideOS, about the critical need for real-time data sharing across supply chain partners.

This Week’s Expert Mailbag: How Are Workers Staying Safe in Warehouses?

| Mike O'Brien

Lots of us have questions these days. The biggest one being: When will we be able to return to “normal” – and what will that look like? In this week’s edition of Multichannel Merchant’s “Ask the Expert,” we address a concern about how warehouse workers are staying safe in the midst of concerns over the spread of COVID-19.

Flytrex Begins Backyard Drone Delivery Pilot from a Walmart in ND

| Mike O'Brien

Israeli drone startup Flytrex has begun a pilot program making backyard deliveries from a Walmart in Grand Forks, ND to about a dozen nearby homes, looking to expand the program to further-out properties there in the months ahead while keeping to current FAA restrictions to line-of-sight piloting.

NBCUniversal Launches New Checkout Platform for Shoppable Content

| Mike O'Brien

NBCUniversal’s new instant checkout service for its shoppable content lets consumers click and buy products they see across the media company’s broadcast and online properties, giving brands an opportunity to sell during a time when stores are shut down. Shoppers can make purchases without abandoning their program.

How Soapbox Pulled Off a COVID-19 Sanitizer Supply Chain Miracle

| Mike O'Brien

To meet demand for hand sanitizer in the midst of COVID-19, Soapbox reached deep into its supply chain to procure supplies and produce 3 million+ bottles of sanitizer in 2 weeks for major retail clients. David Simnick, CEO, and Daniel Doll, president and COO of Soapbox, talk about how they pulled off this massive undertaking.

Dark Stores Addressing Massive COVID-19 E-Grocery Demand

| Mike O'Brien

A handful of grocery retailers have flipped some locations into so-called dark stores to handle the crush of online orders, but it remains to be seen how widespread the practice will become or how much the trend will stick after the coronavirus threat dies down. Retailers include Amazon/Whole Foods, Kroger, Giant Eagle and Stop & Shop.