Amazon Research Project Reportedly Testing Robotic Picking Arms

| Mike O'Brien

Amazon is reportedly experimenting with robotic arms that can visually identify items on a conveyor, pick them up using a compressed air vacuum gripper and place them on a table or shelf. At the same time the company says publicly the state of the art isn’t there yet to handle the wide variety of products it stores and sells.

USPS Proposing Parcel Rate Increases in 9%-12% Range

| Mike O'Brien

The USPS is proposing a number of rate changes that would be effective on Jan. 27 including an average 9.3% increase in its Parcel Select service for packages weighing more than 1 lb., as it looks to recover rising costs and deals with stiff competition from major carriers.

The ABC’s of Digital Transformation for Retailers like J. Crew

| Ed Kennedy

Whether it’s halting all operations like Toys R Us or perpetually closing stores like Sears, many retailers are scrambling, more often than not, to pay back millions of dollars in debt and strategize to see another day. Here are the ABCs of a digital transformation that retailers should know about.

Kroger and Walgreens Join Forces in Cincinnati-Area Pilot

| Mike O'Brien

In the continuing saga of strange bedfellows teaming up to combat the threat of Amazon, a Kroger/Walgreens pilot in northern Kentucky outside Cincinnati allows shoppers to pick up Kroger orders at 13 select Walgreens and purchase Kroger products while there.

Toys R Us, Geoffrey Looking to Come Back Again

| Mike O'Brien

Toys R Us, the on-again, off-again toy retailer, is looking for another reboot, less than four months after closing its remaining stores, according to investors that acquired its assets out of bankruptcy court.

Amazon Raises Minimum Wage to $15 Following Criticism

| Mike O'Brien

Less than a week after a PR backlash over reporting on warehouse worker raises ahead of peak season in the range of 35 cents to 50 cents, Amazon put out the fire by announcing an across-the-board $15 per hour minimum wage for its fulfillment center associates, starting Nov. 1.

When Does an Urban Fulfillment Center Model Make Sense?

| Brendan Heegan

While Amazon can spend $21.7 billion on shipping to meet growing customer expectations, everyone else can’t and ecommerce entrepreneurs need to develop a well-thought-out strategy to address evolving demands. You need to consider these four factors before investing in the urban fulfillment center trend.