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.
The impacts of the coronavirus spread are being felt everywhere across retail and ecommerce, with first stores and now ecommerce operations shut down to comply with government orders, and warehouse workers and drivers testing positive, forcing facilities to close so they can be scrubbed and restarted.
Amazon is severing delivery contracts in five states, affecting about 1,300 drivers, eliminating partners it says aren’t meeting delivery standards, according to Bloomberg and other reports. Two years ago, Amazon began a program to help entrepreneurs start up delivery businesses, creating less of a need for the existing contractors.
FedEx is diverting some Express deliveries into its less expensive Ground network to drive efficiency and build ecommerce package density after parting ways with Amazon in 2019, according an internal memo obtained by the WSJ. FedEx will redirect residential Express packages to Ground as they get close to their destination.
UPS and self-driving technology company Waymo are running a pilot program for autonomous vehicle package pickup in the Phoenix area, using Waymo’s minivans to shuttle packages from UPS stores to a UPS sorting facility. Last year, UPS took a minority stake in TuSimple, an autonomous trucking company.
Consumers have gotten more comfortable ordering bigger, bulkier items online and having them shipped to their homes, covering categories like furniture, home improvement products and housewares. This is now coming at a cost for shippers, especially as the rule has changed for additional handling charges from FedEx and UPS.
A day after Christmas, UPS affirmed and updated its expectation that it would process just shy of 2 million returns on Jan. 2, 2020, representing a seventh consecutive record-breaking National Returns Day. But is Dec. 26 really the day retailers and ecommerce companies need to pay attention to? You be the judge.
It is the synthesis of things Amazon does so well that makes it seemingly invulnerable. To me, trying to beat Amazon on just logistics without a symbiotic combination of brand, merchandising, marketing, technology and a financial war chest is just pure, unadulterated sophistry. Is there such a thing as an effective anti-Amazon strategy?
Amazon is telling 3P sellers they can’t use FedEx Ground for Prime deliveries this holiday season, citing performance issues, according to the Wall Street Journal, saying the policy will remain until there are improvements. UPS and other carriers stand to benefit in the short term if they can find room in their networks.