This holiday season retailers will not only have to contend with decreased carrier capacity due to the pandemic but also the anticipated influx of mail-in election ballots – all of which could result in a “super peak” holiday nightmare for retailers. Now is the time to implement strategies to ensure they can keep up with demand.
While total e-grocery sales in the U.S. declined 20% in August vs. June to $5.2 billion, other factors indicate strength in the sector, such as growth in average order value and repeat usage intent, according to a survey by Mercatus and Brick Meets Click. AOV reached a high of $95, the survey found, 32% higher than a year ago.
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.
Postmates is considering either an IPO or an acquisition by Uber to augment the latter’s own Uber Eats delivery services as its core ride hailing suffers during the pandemic, according to several media reports. The fourth largest U.S. food delivery service has also received a second offer from a special purpose acquisition company.
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.
On the same day it was announced Deliv was winding down its operations this summer, it came out that Target is in talks to snap up some of Deliv’s technology assets to bolster its local ecommerce fulfillment and bring founding CEO Daphne Carmelli onboard, NBC reported. Others had reportedly been looking at Deliv, including grocers.
While ecommerce was initially thought to be a boon during the coronavirus crisis, with stores and malls in lockdown, execution is proving to be anything but as a growing chorus of drivers and facility associates complain about the danger of exposure. Workers at Amazon, Instacart and Whole Foods staged protest walkouts.
A federal court judge issued a restraining order on New Year’s Eve that temporarily exempts 70,000 truck drivers from the Jan. 1 implementation of California’s new gig worker law AB5, after a legal challenge from a trucking group. The group contends AB5 was preempted by a 1994 federal statute; a hearing is scheduled for Jan. 13.