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.

Facebook Shops Lets SMBs Sellers Create Free Ecommerce Storefronts

| Mike O'Brien

Facebook launched of Facebook Shops, a way for small businesses to set up free online storefronts that will stretch across Facebook and Instagram, and eventually across its Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger universe of users as well. It integrates with a number of major ecommerce platforms, excluding Adobe’s Magento.

Amazon Reportedly Weighing J.C. Penney Acquisition Out of Chapter 11

| Mike O'Brien

Shortly after J.C. Penney filed Chapter 11, Amazon reportedly was in talks about possibly picking up the troubled store chain on the cheap. The plan calls closing 242 of 846 stores by 2021, setting up a real estate investment trust (REIT) to handle the balance of its physical assets and receiving $900 million in debtor-in-possession financing.

Kustomer Acquires Reply.ai, Enhancing AI, Machine Learning Capabilities

| Mike O'Brien

Kustomer, an up-and-coming cloud-based CRM platform for hot DTC brands like UNTUCKit, ThirdLove and The Farmer’s Dog, has acquired Reply.ai, which uses AI and machine learning to improve agent efficiency by deflecting customer queries through chatbots and widgets. The two have worked together on CRM integration projects.

Ecommerce Sales Continued Explosive Growth in April

| Mike O'Brien

Driven by COVID-19 restrictions, ecommerce grew 49% between the early March shutdowns and the end of April, according to Adobe’s latest Digital Economy Index, with large gains in curbside and store pickup and e-grocery as the retail world continues to reset. Bazaarvoice also found ecommerce orders were up 96% in April year-over-year.

MCM CommerceChat Podcast

Breaking Down the Retail Bankruptcy and Restructuring Process

| Mike O'Brien

What should the growing number of retailers weighing bankruptcy be considering, and what kinds of restructuring plans should they set up? Attorney Thomas Wolford, a partner with Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg, gives us an insider’s look at what goes on from filing through re-emergence in this MCM CommerceChat podcast.

Free Here Technologies App Optimizes Ecommerce Delivery for SMBs

| Mike O'Brien

Here Technologies, a provider of location and mapping solutions for companies worldwide including UPS and FedEx, has created a free navigation app to help SMBs flipping to ecommerce optimize delivery routes by providing turn-by-turn navigation for multiple stop routes. The app has been tested by restaurants in Australia.

Take Our Survey on the State of Ecommerce Fulfillment Operations

| Mike O'Brien

To keep you informed about major changes taking place in the industry, Multichannel Merchant is conducting research into how ecommerce fulfillment operations are managing through this time and looking to improve their performance – but we need your help. Take our brief survey and we will share the results in a subsequent report.

Political Battle Over USPS Future, Fed Bailout Continues as Mail Declines

| Mike O'Brien

While the USPS gets tossed around like a political football and threatens insolvency without more federal aid, the agency continues to report poor results as already lower mail rates have fallen through the floor due to coronavirus. Meantime, Trump ally, donor and fundraiser Louis DeJoy will be the new Postmaster General.

Experts Provide Answers on Increased Order Returns, Warehouse Safety

| Mike O'Brien

We all can use some extra help sometimes, reaching out to our “bench” with tough questions, situations or challenges. In the latest edition of Multichannel Merchant’s “Ask the Experts,” we address reader questions about increased order returns and ways to maintain warehouse safety for workers during the COVID-19 crisis.

Deliv driver

Target Looks to Acquire Tech Assets of Deliv as Startup Unwinds Operations

| Mike O'Brien

On the same day it was announced Deliv was winding down its operations this summer, it came out that Target is in talks to snap up some of Deliv’s technology assets to bolster its local ecommerce fulfillment and bring founding CEO Daphne Carmelli onboard, NBC reported. Others had reportedly been looking at Deliv, including grocers.