Dark stores, even as a temporarily approach, can help offset the cost of underperforming stores and the expense of freight and logistics, especially in more densely populated areas. It also takes online fulfillment out of store operations, allowing retailers to concentrate on customer service and minimizing inventory confusion.
Beyond the holiday rush, multichannel retailers can’t afford to be short-sighted, ignoring the paradigm shift in consumer purchasing behavior that will extend long after the pandemic is over. If they aren’t looking at long-term investments to create hybrid customer experiences, they will soon find themselves way behind the pack.
Multichannel Merchant has published its sixth annual MCM Top 3PL listing for 2021, a searchable directory of leading third-party logistics (3PL) providers in ecommerce and direct-to-customer operations. Each of the 60+ profiles includes data on key capabilities, top merchandise categories, facilities, B2B/B2C split and more.
We’re at a tipping point where automation is about to be a mainstream focus of ecommerce fulfillment centers. But while automation may be a sensible investment for bigger players like Amazon, that doesn’t mean it will scale effectively to smaller operations. So, are fully automated facilities really the future, and if so, what will it look like?
FedEx is acquiring ecommerce platform ShopRunner, which offers subscribers guaranteed two-day delivery for $79 a year, looking to bolster its ecommerce offerings and bulk up in the battle against ex-partner Amazon, which is expected to restart 3P fulfillment in 2021. ShopRunner, based in Chicago, will be operated as a subsidiary.
Flexe, pioneer of he concept of warehouse on demand, has raised $70 million to build out its technology platform and facilities network connecting shippers with available space while also providing WMS and OMS capabilities. The company has increased its facilities base 50% to 1,500 in the past year as ecommerce demand has exploded.
Amazon and Best Buy are both touting their expanded network of alternate pickup locations to deal with the holiday crush ahead of Black Friday, giving shoppers more options for getting their stuff fast. Amazon said it has Hub locations in more than 900 cities and towns, while Best Buy’s network is over 16,000.