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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Target Hits a Q4 Omnichannel Home Run

| Mike O'Brien

Target, one of the clear retail winners in the pandemic era, posted another impressive quarter, with Q4 revenue, earnings and comparable sales outpacing projections and its omnichannel strategy firing on all cylinders as it reported a $9 billion gain in market share based on internal and market research.

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Walmart Removes $35 Minimum for Same-Day Delivery

| Mike O'Brien

In a move surprising no one except for the timing, Walmart announced it’s dropping the $35 minimum order threshold for shoppers to qualify for same-day delivery with its Walmart Express service, just months after doing the same for members of its Walmart+ subscription program. Walmart’s ecommerce growth “fell” to 69% in Q4.

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Shippo Raises $45M In New Round

| Mike O'Brien

Shippo, a shipping software platform provider, has raised $45 million in a new funding round, with plans to invest in product and engineering teams as well as exploring ways to extend its technology into the pre- and post-purchase realms to increase the value and stickiness of its offering.

Ensuring Sales Tax Compliance in a Shifting Retail Landscape

| Mike O'Brien

In the era of ecommerce explosion, the lines between purchases are getting blurred internally. With stores closed or operating at limited capacity, many are now using them to fulfill ecommerce orders. All of this has sales tax consequences. This MCM report addresses the impact of the shifting retail landscape on sales tax considerations.

U.S. E-Grocery Sales Hit $9.3B in January

| Mike O'Brien

As consumer dollars keep shifting online generally in the pandemic, e-grocery in the U.S. continues to explode, hitting a high of $9.3 billion in January, up 15% from November, according to a survey conducted by Mercatus/Brick Meet Click. Home delivery and store/curbside pickup represented 77% of the total.

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Walgreens Partners with Instacart

| Mike O'Brien

Walgreens is launching same-day delivery with partner Instacart, starting in Illinois and rolling out to its 8,000 stores nationwide by the spring, beginning with express stops in Southeast Florida, Dallas, Atlanta, Washington D.C. and New York. Through the partnership, tens of thousands of items can arrive in as little as an hour.

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Kroger Hit by Breach, No Customer Data Misused

| Mike O'Brien

Major grocer Kroger said it hit by a cyberattack, but that no personal shopper data or credit card information was compromised, in an incident that also hit government entities in New Zealand and Australia, a U.S. college, a state’s auditor and a prominent law firm, AP reports.

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Locus Robotics Now a Unicorn with New Funding

| Mike O'Brien

Locus Robotics, a provider of autonomous mobile robots (AMR) for fulfillment warehouses, has raised $150 million in a Series E round, led by Tiger Global Management and Bond, bringing its valuation to the unicorn level north of $1 billion as its business multiplies. The company is looking to expand in Europe and enter APAC in 2022.

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Ahold Delhaize Steps Up Automation Efforts

| Mike O'Brien

Ahold Delhaize, the Netherlands-based grocery conglomerate that owns Stop & Shop, Giant and other U.S. chains, plans to pilot micro-fulfillment technology at one of Giant’s fulfillment centers in Philadelphia as it competes with Kroger’s e-fulfillment model using tech partner Ocado.

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Amazon Ups Surveillance of Contract Drivers

| Mike O'Brien

First it was AI-equipped onboard cameras watching Amazon’s contract drivers along their routes. Now an app called Mentor monitors driver performance, which can interpret legitimate activities as risky ones, resulting in lower scores and sometimes termination. The company has reportedly been using Mentor for years.