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.

UPS Acquires UK Truck Brokerage Firm Freightex

| Mike O'Brien

UPS has acquired British firm Freightex to gain entry into the European truck brokerage market. This comes eight months after FedEx closed its acquisition of Netherlands-based TNT Express. See what a UPS unit executive had to say about the rationale behind the move, how it will be integrated with Coyote Logistics and how it’s positioned in the European market.

Kohl’s Using Technology to Transform the Customer Experience

| Mike O'Brien

Retailers need to focus less on the “shiny new objects” and instead focus on systems and solutions that actually move the needle, Ratnakar Lavu, Chief Technology Officer for Kohl’s said at NRF’s Big Show. See what tech tricks the company has up its sleeve, which are coming down the road and how they’re boosting loyalty and engagement.

The State of Retail in 2017

| Mike O'Brien

What is the outlook for retail in 2017? What macro factors will affect it? How about the continued migration to omnichannel and store closures? Multichannel Merchant Senior Content Manager spoke with Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist of the National Retail Federation at the Big Show in New York to discuss these topics and take a glimpse into the “crystal ball.”

mobile commerce, retail geo-targeting, social media marketing, customer reviews

Retailers Continue Omnichannel Pivot as Stores Struggle

| Mike O'Brien

Major retailers including Macy’s, JC Penney and Nordstrom are placing larger bets on omnichannel as the future of retail, amid hundreds of store closings and even a chain shuttering in the wake of a tough holiday season for brick-and-mortar sales. See what moves the chains are making to counter Amazon’s incursions.

Staples, U.S. Postal Service, National Labor Relations Board, Operations and Fulfillment, USPS, Staples Approved Shipper Program, UPS

USPS Pulling Operations Out of Staples

| Mike O'Brien

Three years after it had begun, the U.S. Postal Service is ending its relationship with office supply chain Staples, pulling its beleaguered Staples-staffed service centers out of the stores by early March amid labor pressure and a labor board ruling upholding an earlier court order.

Tompkins Launches Ecommerce Fulfillment Alliance

| Mike O'Brien

After years in the supply chain consulting business, Tompkins International is launching the MonarchFx Alliance, a consortium of technology and service providers it says will eventually provide more efficient, faster ecommerce fulfillment across sectors including apparel, furniture and appliances, cross-border, cold storage and stores. See what else the alliance has in store, and who has partnered with it.

Amazon, Amazon.com, Amazon Prime, Amazon Prime Now, Prime Now, same-day delivery, one-hour delivery, drones, Amazon drones, U.S. Senate, FAA, Federal Aviation Administration

Third-Party Sellers on Amazon Saw 2016 Boom

| Mike O'Brien

Amazon shipped over 2 billion items worldwide in 2016 for third-party sellers on its marketplace using its fulfillment services – more than double the figure from 2015. See what other milestones the company achieved in 2016 and during the holiday season.

Sears Holdings Sells Craftsman to Stanley Black & Decker

| Mike O'Brien

Ending years of speculation, Sears Holdings will sell its popular Craftsman brand to Stanley Black & Decker for an estimated $900 million. It is also closing 108 Kmart and 42 Sears locations, while getting $150 million in loan guarantees from its CEO. So what’s in store for its other popular brand – Kenmore appliances – as the retail business continues to decline rapidly?