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project44 Acquires Convey, Gains Last Mile Strength

| Mike O'Brien

project44 has acquired Convey for $255 million to create an end-to-end supply chain visibility solution, marrying up the latter’s expertise in last mile to complement its focus up the chain in first and middle mile and all modes of freight, in both B2B and direct-to-consumer realms.

3PL

Ecommerce 3PLs: Sorting Posers from Pros

| Kamran Iqbal

With peak season upon us, vetting prospective ecommerce 3PLs should focus on their ability to execute under peak conditions. While some may be good at a few aspects of ecommerce operations, the ability to scale up is crucial, and doing so end to end is a rare quality indeed. Here’s how to separate the 3PL posers from the pros.

The outsourcers who can truly do it all according to each brand’s requirements are the real pros. 3PLs that can’t do it all – at scale – are just posers.

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Ecommerce Returns, the New Sales Tool

| Mo Cheema

How can retailers leverage costly ecommerce returns into a sales tool? It’s an interesting question, given how retailers wrestle with the avalanche of costly returns. Some have remade returns into a customer loyalty campaign, while tech-savvy companies are taking the returns experience to the next level with AI and computer vision.

Here is a look at the building blocks that have enabled retailers to turn a negative experience into a positive opportunity for additional sales.

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Retailers Viewing Returns Through the Lens of Strategy

| Mike O'Brien

If the past year has taught us anything, it’s this: Retailers can no longer afford to view returns as a cost of doing business, but instead need to make it a key business strategy driving customer loyalty. Successful retailers are enhancing their returns policies and solutions to make returns a differentiator.

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Are Your Ecommerce Returns Creating Non-Returners?

| Dan Nevin

Is your ecommerce returns process preventing customers from returning items – and thus not returning to shop with you again? The answer might be yes. Returns provide the ability to drive repeat purchases, if done right. Make sure your returns processes support this, and don’t instead create non-returners. 

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How Data Addresses Unavoidable and Avoidable Returns

| Ken Fleming

With the imperative to reduce returns shipping costs, it’s no wonder SMB fulfillment teams increasingly look for data trends. Patterns can help identify recurring fulfillment errors, which can be eliminated to help reduce avoidable returns. But as the stakes continue to rise, how do you address “unavoidable” returns?

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Holiday Returns Cost Expected to Double

| Mike O'Brien

After the explosion in holiday ecommerce, comes the flood of holiday returns, expected to cost retailers $1.1 billion, twice what it did in 2020, according to data from Narvar. goTRG and Returnly both said Dec. 26 was the peak day for consumers to initiate returns. UPS traditionally lists Jan. 2 as peak returns day for transit of returns.

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International Parcel Shipping Provider Passport Raises $12M

| Mike O'Brien

Passport, a provider of international parcel shipping services, has raised $12 million in a Series A round to build out its parcel supply chain network for ecommerce and DTC brands. Funding for the round was secured by M13 and included participation from Resolute Ventures, Precursor, Kleiner Perkins, RiverPark and Republic.

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Happy Returns Network Expands to 2,600+ Locations in FedEx Deal

| Mike O'Brien

After parting ways with Amazon last year, FedEx is now jumping deeper into ecommerce returns, much as Amazon did with Kohl’s, by adding Happy Returns bars to 2,000+ FedEx locations, including 300 inside Walmart stores. Unboxed returns will be accepted from 150 different retailers when the program launches at the end of October.

Sizing Matters: How Tech, Standards Are Working to Solve Apparel Returns

| Mike O'Brien

Issues with sizing and color conventions have probably been an issue since the invention of clothes. And with so much shopping now driven online by the pandemic, combined with generally liberal return policies, apparel returns have exploded. New technology solutions and industry standards are both working to solve the problem.