Walmart+ Coming Soon, Cheaper Alternative to Amazon Prime

| Mike O'Brien

After putting it off for four months due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Walmart plans to finally roll out its own $98 a year subscription program this month to challenge the outright dominance of Amazon Prime. It will reportedly include access to Walmart’s new two-hour grocery delivery service, deals and discount gas, Recode reported.

Wayfair+2: The Impact of Marketplace Facilitator Laws Gone Wild

| Megan Higgins

Moving forward, one thing is certain: Marketplace facilitator laws will continue to evolve. We’re already seeing some changes in the U.S., with Louisiana going after high-volume 3P sellers during COVID-19. But states are also going to great lengths to pursue lodging and communications platforms and even food delivery services.

FedEx Beats Q4 Expectations, Driven by Massive Surge in Ecommerce

| Mike O'Brien

FedEx surprised to the upside in Q4, its laser focus on ecommerce capabilities in recent years paying off in terms of responsiveness to massive online buying, even as service stumbles were reported in a couple states. It seemed none the worse for having parted ways with Amazon in 2019 to seek more profitable customer relationships.

Amazon’s Anti-Counterfeit Crimes Unit Includes Former Prosecutors

| Mike O'Brien

Amazon is taking a serious run at counterfeit sellers on its marketplace, with the creation of a Counterfeit Crimes Unit that includes former federal prosecutors, investigators and data analysts. The company said it has limited counterfeit complaints to 0.1% of items listed, but legislators and media investigations have still taken it to task.

Marketplaces Give Brands a Greater Shot at DTC Success

| Daniel Sugarman

Brands are challenged with finding a way forward even when traditional DTC models threaten to crack—and thinking outside the box to find the post-coronavirus formula for success. Fortunately, DTC doesn’t just mean selling on your own site. Here are some of the strong benefits of adding marketplaces to your DTC channel mix.

FedEx Follows Suit with COVID-19-Related Peak Surcharges for Shippers

| Mike O'Brien

It took FedEx less than a week to react to UPS’s new COVID-19-related peak surcharges by rolling out its own new fee schedule to cover additional volume-related costs, with a couple wrinkles separating the two plans and no end date specified, again impacting large-volume shippers. The new charges went into effect June 8, with no end date.

MCM CommerceChat Podcast

The Significance of Shops for Facebook, Sellers, Ecommerce

| Mike O'Brien

What is the potential for Facebook Shops? Could it be looking beyond transactions to a WeChat scenario creating a total consumer experience? In this MCM CommerceChat podcast, Andrea Szasz, a principal analyst at Kearney, talks about Facebook’s initiative and how it fits into the bigger picture of ecommerce in the COVID-19 era.

Amazon in Talks to Acquire Autonomous Vehicle Startup Zoox

| Mike O'Brien

Amazon is in advanced talks to acquire self-driving car startup Zoox as it looks to expand its autonomous vehicle capabilities to address massive delivery costs, according to the Wall Street Journal. It has already invested heavily in autonomous technology, contributing to funding rounds for Aurora Innovation and Rivian Automotive LLC.

Amazon Air Could Reach Parity with UPS By 2027 or 2028, Study Finds

| Mike O'Brien

Amazon Air is projected to have 200 cargo jets in its fleet by 2027 or 2028, bringing it close to parity with UPS if the latter doesn’t expand significantly, according to a study from DePaul University. The study said Amazon Air has grown to 42 planes since its launch in 2016, with plans to expand to 70 by 2021, putting it on par with DHL.