eBay has struck a deal with UPS to provide its sellers with discounted shipping, after telling them last month it was aware of service delays with primary carrier the U.S. Postal Service and complaints from sellers. The major marketplace said the discounts would be available to all of its sellers by the end of September.
Like UPS before it, FedEx reported a blowout first quarter fueled by pandemic-era ecommerce demand, with revenue and profits exceeding estimates and average daily volume in its ground parcel network increasing by 31%. Executives said they are ready for a massive peak holiday season with personnel, facilities and technology.
FedEx announced its 2021 rate schedule, once again with a 4.9% increase for its ground, express and home delivery services, lower than some observers had expected, and the addition of a late fee for unpaid invoices, which UPS has had in place for years. FedEx is also adding surcharges for high cost and out-of-the-way areas.
While total e-grocery sales in the U.S. declined 20% in August vs. June to $5.2 billion, other factors indicate strength in the sector, such as growth in average order value and repeat usage intent, according to a survey by Mercatus and Brick Meets Click. AOV reached a high of $95, the survey found, 32% higher than a year ago.
Walmart on Sept. 9 launched a second pilot drone delivery program, this time in Fayetteville, NC, using a control system from Israeli firm Flytrex, zipping grocery and household items to nearby customers. This is in addition to a program drone program Walmart launched in April in Grand Forks, ND, again with Flytrex.
Amazon is warning ecommerce shippers using Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) that late shipments to an FBA facility on the part of their carrier could result in suspension of their FBA shipping privileges, even if the shippers themselves aren’t responsible for the delays. The new policy went into effect on Aug. 25, 2020.
In a familiar theme for omnichannel retailers who have gotten ahead of the curve in digital transformation, Macy’s reported store sales down 61% in the second quarter, while ecommerce increased 53%. Still brick-and-mortar news was not all bad, as stores reopened stronger than expected and luxury goods outpaced projections.
Walmart+, the $98 per year subscription program the company insists isn’t competing with Amazon Prime when it is, will launch Sept. 15, offering free same-day delivery on 160,000 items. Monthly membership is $12.95, similar to Prime, and a 15-day free trial is available. Members of Delivery Unlimited will automatically revert to Walmart+.