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A Peek into 2020 Peak: Fulfilling the Promise of Omnichannel

| Zach Thomann

Coming after a year of economic contraction and retail disruption, the 2020 peak holiday season threatened to be brutal on retailers. While some retailers had exceptional results, operational challenges limited opportunities. See what a recent study revealed about the impact of pre-peak investments on reducing capability gaps.

Omnichannel operations are the future of brick-and-mortar and DTC retail.

Fulfillment Automation and Reduced Labor Costs

| Brian Barry

In 2021, will order demand continue at the same volume? How will it change? And how will it impact my labor demand? For many multichannel companies, this means moving toward fulfillment automation in order to decrease the amount of labor and its increasing costs. Here are 2 scenarios where automation was cost justified.

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Locus Robotics Now a Unicorn with New Funding

| Mike O'Brien

Locus Robotics, a provider of autonomous mobile robots (AMR) for fulfillment warehouses, has raised $150 million in a Series E round, led by Tiger Global Management and Bond, bringing its valuation to the unicorn level north of $1 billion as its business multiplies. The company is looking to expand in Europe and enter APAC in 2022.

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Ahold Delhaize Steps Up Automation Efforts

| Mike O'Brien

Ahold Delhaize, the Netherlands-based grocery conglomerate that owns Stop & Shop, Giant and other U.S. chains, plans to pilot micro-fulfillment technology at one of Giant’s fulfillment centers in Philadelphia as it competes with Kroger’s e-fulfillment model using tech partner Ocado.

3PL vs. Internal Fulfillment: Comparing Costs

| Brian Barry

For some ecommerce and multichannel companies, using third-party fulfillment (3PL) can be a viable alternative and provide high customer service as an option to internal fulfillment. The burning question for management: “How will it compare in terms of costs?” Here’s a step-by-step process for conducting your analysis.

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Stalco Acquired by Canada Cartage

| Mike O'Brien

Stalco, a Toronto-based 3PL specializing in fulfillment and distribution for high-velocity ecommerce clients in Canada, the U.S. and abroad, has been acquired by Canada Cartage. Stalco will become a standalone unit within CCLS, Canada Cartage’s fulfillment and distribution division, and operated independently.

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Walmart Expands Store-Based Grocery Fulfillment Automation

| Mike O'Brien

Walmart is taking another huge leap forward in its attempt to dominate grocery sales, launching an aggressive plan to increase the number of stores using micro fulfillment via automation and robotics to speed orders to local customers as it builds on the digital legacy of the departing Marc Lore. Dozens of such locations are planned.

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Amazon Files Objection to Alabama Union Vote

| Mike O'Brien

Amazon has filed a motion with the National Labor Relations Board seeking to postpone a planned union vote next month at its fulfillment center in Bessemer, AL, which if successful would create its first union shop, an outcome the ecommerce giant has vigorously opposed at every turn. The vote is scheduled from Feb. 8-March 29.

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10 Ecommerce Fulfillment Trends to Pursue in 2021

| Perry Belcastro

The past year has redefined how Americans shop. Ecommerce, BOPIS and curbside are table stakes, and free shipping is expected. What exactly does that mean for ecommerce fulfillment operations? Now more than ever, they must be strategic, sophisticated and responsive. Here are 10 key areas to pursue in 2021.

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Amazon Gives Break to SFP Merchants

| Mike O'Brien

Amazon is giving merchants using its Seller Fulfilled Prime a break in terms of service level commitments, removing a plan to have them meet one- and two-day shipping requirements, in light of ongoing challenges on speedy delivery from carriers, CNBC reported.