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.

Vermont Country Store

Vermont Country Store On Creating Agents as “Shopkeepers”

| Mike O'Brien

What does it mean to have CSRs act not just as problem-solvers but as “shopkeepers”of your brand’s unique style? Kara Soulia, director of operations, and Melissa Lackney, operations training and development coordinator for Vermont Country Store, explain the concept, and how they train their agents to extend the down-home feel of the company’s trademark stores to every channel and interaction, while being alert for “cues and clues” that can lead to cross-selling and upselling opportunities.

Jet.com, Marc Lore, Amazon, Walmart.com, ecommerce, ecommerce marketplace, Diapers.com

Jet.com Acquires Home Goods Seller Hayneedle

| Mike O'Brien

Startup and Amazon challenger Jet.com has massively expanded its inventory of home furnishings, acquiring ecommerce seller Hayneedle for an undisclosed sum. The move adds millions of new items like patio furniture and pet supplies to a Jet.com inventory that is heavily skewed toward everyday consumer goods.

J.C. Penney Continues Turnaround with Strong Q4

| Mike O'Brien

J.C. Penney posted strong Q4 and 2015 numbers, citing omnichannel tactics as a big part of its continuing turnaround, in a period when competitors stumbled. The return of popular private-label brands and the recent addition of appliances by customer demand are evidence that the company has been responsive to what shoppers want. Learn more about the retailer’s recent performance.

Target Corp.

Omnichannel Helps Target Hits Q4 Digital Sales Out of the Park

| Mike O'Brien

Target hit on a winning combination of free shipping and omnichannel operations to grow its digital sales a healthy 34% in Q4, while same-store sales grew just 1.9%. In addition, 30% of its digital sales were either from buy online, pickup in store or ship-from-store transactions. See how Target got it done in 2015, especially during the critical holiday season.

Deliv

UPS Looks to Learn More About Same-Day Model Through Stake in Deliv

| Mike O'Brien

In a move aimed at better understanding the inner workings of the same-day delivery model, UPS has purchased a stake in crowdsourced delivery startup Deliv. Just how UPS will leverage this relationship and what it learns remains to be seen, but it surely has its eye on the burgeoning same-day delivery space, including competitor FedEx’s service for Neiman Marcus and others.

FedEx

UPS Challenging FedEx-TNT Deal in Brazil

| Mike O'Brien

Three years after having its acquisition of TNT snagged on EU regulatory concerns, UPS has filed an appeal of the FedEx-TNT deal. Will this latest move hang up the $4.8 billion deal for its main rival, announced last April? Stay tuned for the next installment.

Nordstrom Takes No. 1 Ranking in Customer Experience Index

| Mike O'Brien

Nordstrom was ranked No. 1 in the annual Customer Experience Index results from the e-tailing group, conducted in Q4 2015, after missing the top 10 in 2014. See how other leading retailers ranked in the index, including how they were rated across a range of key customer experience metrics.

Amazon Flex

Amazon Flex Drivers Reportedly Delivering Parcels

| Mike O'Brien

Amazon is once again on the move in logistics and delivery, with Reuters reporting its courier-based Amazon Flex network is making parcel deliveries in addition to the typical everyday goods being sent to Prime members.

Reuters said Amazon did acknowledge that drivers for Amazon Flex in Texas had already begun mixing in parcel deliveries with regular Prime Now orders. Amazon Flex, which allows couriers to sign up for delivery shifts via an app, is currently available in 14 cities including Seattle, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Dallas.