MCM Outlook 2021: Past the Pivots to Ecommerce Operations Efficiency

| Mike O'Brien

Now that the challenges of the lockdown era are behind, and disruptions have solidified into new consumer behaviors and business practices, what’s next for ecommerce operations? In our annual MCM Outlook report, we talk to retail leaders and industry experts to drill down into how companies are faring and what’s working.

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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.

With Rising Parcel Costs, You Need Better Data

| Megan Rudolph

With the new year underway, you may be feeling the burden of the latest round of carrier rate and surcharge increases hitting parcel costs. In order to understand and mitigate their business impact, you need to arm yourself with information. How can you measure the net impact of these changes? It all starts with good, accurate data.

FedEx Adds Peak Residential Surcharge

| Mike O'Brien

FedEx has added on yet another surcharge, this time a 30 cent per package peak residential delivery charge for shippers who hand off an average of 30,000 packages weekly between Jan. 4-31 between FedEx Express, Ground and SmartPost, effective Feb. 15 and again until further notice. They apply to Ground and Express shipments.

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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.

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USPS Suffered Most in Holiday Package Deluge

| Mike O'Brien

The U.S. Post Office suffered most in terms of on-time performance and complaints this peak holiday season, experts agreed, with FedEx also having issues but not to the same extent and UPS doing better. Carriers of all stripes were buried by a cataclysmic holiday package deluge from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

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2020 Year in Review: Retail Upended, Reset Continues

| Mike O'Brien

As 2020 comes to a close, it’s time to reflect back on a wild and crazy year in retail, to paraphrase the Festrunk brothers from Saturday Night Live. COVID-19 came in like a wrecking ball in February and March, causing widespread shutdowns that hit retail especially hard, leading to hockey-stick growth in ecommerce.

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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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UPS, FedEx Diverge on Last-Mile Surcharges

| Mike O'Brien

UPS has extended shipping surcharges into 2021, with some similarities and some differences FedEx. Most notable was a steeper price drop for the surcharge on UPS’s SurePost last-mile service, used by many smaller ecommerce shippers, as FedEx may be covering the cost of shifting volume from the USPS into its own ground network.