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Amazon Recruiting Rural SMBs as Couriers

| Mike O'Brien

Amazon has quietly been recruiting local businesses in rural areas across 10 states as part of its fulfillment network, earning cash on the side for making deliveries of ecommerce orders in hard-to-reach places for contract couriers, according to Recode. They can earn up to $2,000 a week with the side hustle but assume liability.

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DynoSafe, Smart Porch Safe, Wins “Shark Tank” Deal

| Mike O'Brien

The founders DynoSafe, maker of a patented refrigerated smart safe for porch deliveries that won a “Shark Tank” investment deal with Robert Herjavec, is in discussion with manufacturers and prepping its go-to-market plan. Fellow Shark Mark Cuban is also on the board of the husband-and-wife-led company.

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Farmstead Looks to the Burbs for E-Grocery Growth

| Mike O'Brien

E-grocery platform Farmstead is expanding into suburban markets with an offering tailored to the mass market. It targets the 70% of suburban consumers shopping mid-market grocers and have few delivery options. Co-founder and CEO Pradeep Elankumaran, talks about the business model, outsourcing of its tech stack and expansion plans.

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Amazon Program Lets Retailers Offer Prime Delivery

| Mike O'Brien

Amazon is taking another step to build its ecommerce fulfillment domination by allowing its 200 million-plus Prime members to purchase products from other retailers, who will be charged fees to offer Prime-like services like free two-day and next-day delivery.

3PL

Using a 3PL to Save on Operational Costs

| Brian Barry

Using a 3PL isn’t for everyone. But escalating labor costs, requirements for a new facility, starting a new business or channel and avoiding capital costs are reasons we see companies comparing internal fulfillment to 3PL. Here are six major ways businesses have traditionally saved money and reduced capital using 3PLs in their supply chain.

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Google Rolls Out Fleet/Route Optimization Toolset

| Mike O'Brien

Given the vast amount of data streaming into its ubiquitous search engine every day, its various technology platforms and the ecommerce explosion, it’s only logical that Google is offering what it sees as a better mousetrap to solve the thorny problem of route optimization in last-mile deliveries.

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Dronamics Expands Cargo Drone Network in Europe

| Mike O'Brien

Belgium-based Dronamics, maker of a long-range cargo drone that can carry up to 770 lbs. of payload, is expanding its network by adding two new “droneport” locations at airports in Germany and Denmark, creating a total of 42 locations in 14 European cities. A partnership with DHL in APAC calls for deployment of 4,000 drones.

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Sephora Expands Same-Day Delivery with Shipt

| Mike O'Brien

Sephora continues to expand same-day delivery to customers’ doors, providing service in as little as an hour thanks to a new partnership with delivery service Shipt, which is owned by Target. The major beauty retailer already has a same-day delivery partnership with Instacart, on top of its own Beauty on Demand service.

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Target Rolling Out Curbside Returns This Fall

| Mike O'Brien

Do you want a latte with that toy your kid didn’t like? Target said it is offering curbside returns in select markets starting this fall, as well as the opportunity to grab a Starbucks beverage while you’re at it. The red target retailer said customers can use the Target app to set up a curbside return and/or grab a caffeinated drink.

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Veho Raises $170M to Reach $1.5B Valuation

| Mike O'Brien

Veho, a startup whose software matches demand to crowdsourced drivers and handles deliveries and returns out of its own warehouses, has raised another $170 million to reach a $1.5 billion valuation, just two months after its last $125 million round made it a unicorn. The company plans to expand to national coverage in 2022.