eBay Suite of Fulfillment Services Targets High-Volume Sellers

| Mike O'Brien

Taking a shot at Amazon’s leading position, eBay will launch a fulfillment program next year targeting high-volume sellers and tapping a network of partners to provide end-to-end services including shipping, tracking, warehousing and customer service. This is similar to a move made last month by ecommerce platform Shopify.

UPS Adds Sunday Delivery, Doubles Pickup Locations with Retail Partners

| Mike O'Brien

Through new partnerships with Michael’s, CVS and Advance Auto, UPS is more than doubling its network of U.S. Access Point locations and adding Sunday pickup and delivery in January for business and residential customers as it engages in an arms race with FedEx. This gives UPS 63,000 U.S. locations, compared to 62,000 for FedEx.

PRC Approves Lower Postal Rates Ahead of UPU Meeting

| Mike O'Brien

The Postal Regulatory Commission has approved a range of postal rates for smaller packages originating from overseas to the United States, part of an effort to level the playing field for U.S. merchants and manufacturers disadvantaged by international postage rules.

FedEx Cites Amazon Competition for the First Time in 10k

| Mike O'Brien

Despite public pronouncements from FedEx Chairman and CEO Fred Smith that he is unconcerned about Amazon as a logistics competitor, the company used that term in its recently released annual report for the first time in connection with the ecommerce giant. Further actions by Amazon will “reduce our revenue” FedEx stated.

CommonSense Robotics Goes Underground with Grocery Fulfillment

| Mike O'Brien

Israeli firm CommonSense Robotics is building what it says is the world’s first underground automated fulfillment operation for grocery delivery, anticipating a future where facilities like this will occupy abandoned urban spaces above and below ground to fulfill one-hour deliveries for city dwellers.

OMS, Inventory Management Head 2019 Tech Investment Wish Lists

| Mike O'Brien

After robotics and automation, order management systems (OMS) and inventory management systems were the highest priority for tech investment in 2019, based on the MCM Outlook survey, noted by 12% of respondents each. The results also reflect rising customer expectations for ecommerce fulfillment: make it cheap and fast.

Optimizing Ecommerce Fulfillment for Social Commerce

| Perry Belcastro

About 70% of U.S. adults use one or more social media sites, according to Pew research, with many making direct purchases there, and savvy merchants are tapping into this trend. But they must be at the top of their order fulfillment game to succeed. Here are some best practices top brands are using in social commerce fulfillment.

FedEx Reportedly Slashing Prices on Express Service

| Mike O'Brien

Close on the heels of its decision earlier this month to cut ties between Amazon and its Express air delivery unit, FedEx is reportedly offering big discounts on the service to draw in more ecommerce business and take it away from rival UPS, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Delivery Flexibility, Options Win Customers in the Age of Amazon

| Guy Bloch

Amidst shifting consumer demand and a move toward true omnichannel, retailers’ ability to leverage their physical presence is vitally important. Options such as deliver from store, buy online pickup in store (BOPIS), buy online return in store (BORIS) and delivery drop-offs in lockers are a major advantage over online retailers.

Kroger Pilots 30-Minute Grocery Deliveries in Cincinnati Area

| Mike O'Brien

In the never-ending quest for delivery immediacy, grocer Kroger is testing out 30-minute deliveries in its home market of Cincinnati, cutting the promised time from Amazon’s Prime Now in half. Called Kroger Rush, the service costs $5.95 per order, with the first order free, and requires an app download.