inthenews

Recent News in Our Ecosystem

Trump-Amazon feud shadows critical Postal Service report

August 15, 2018

The Trump administration is expected to release a report in the coming weeks on reforming the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), an event that could revive President Trump’s feud with Amazon.  Trump earlier this year assembled a task force to recommend fixes for the Postal Service’s fiscal woes soon after he accused the online retail giant of abusing its relationship with the USPS.  Business groups worry the task force could recommend an increase in shipping rates, something that could threaten Amazon’s lucrative arrangement with the USPS…more

**********************************

New USPS service alerts you about missing mail

August 15, 2018

MICHIGAN, (WNEM) –  A new, free service through the U.S. Post Office could help ease your mind about whether you’re missing any mail. The service is called Informed Delivery. It’s used by more than 11 million people nationwide.  The service sends you a text or email every day around 9 a.m. with pictures of the mail you will receive that day. The only days you will not receive a notification are on holidays or Sundays when there is no mail service…more

**********************************

The Amazon Prime Effect: Rising Expectations for E-Commerce Delivery and Fulfillment

August 14, 2018

If the 100 million-plus shoppers who pay $119 a year for fast shipping via Amazon Prime are any indication, a smooth and expedient delivery and fulfillment process is crucial to e-commerce success. And expectations are rising.  According to a recent survey of 3,000 online shoppers from Canada, the U.K. and the U.S., younger generations are particularly critical, with less than half of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 saying that they receive their orders on time and in perfect condition. These findings are published in a new report from Radial, “The Everyday Essentials of Successful E-Commerce Fulfillment.”…more

**********************************

Returns in the Supply Chain: Completing the Circular Lifecycle of Inventory

August 13, 2018

Try this on for size: In 2017, there were $351 billion worth of returns in the United States retail market. Putting this figure in perspective, were that dollar value the revenue of a retailer, it would be the second largest behind Walmart (Walmart is at $363 billion, with the second-place retailer, Kroger, at $110 billion in revenue). Returns have always been a part of retail, but are often not viewed as a priority. Retailers and brands can no longer look at this part of their supply chain as an afterthought; rather, they need to determine how they can leverage this inventory strategically. Returns represent working inventory that, when properly utilized, have value within the supply chain — both for the physical asset and, perhaps more importantly, the financial aspect…more

**********************************

Walmart Improves Online Return Policy in Latest Joust with Amazon

August 9, 2018

Soon after Amazon AMZN announced its new in-car Whole Foods grocery pickup service, another retail giant, Walmart WMT , shared its plan to make returning products easier for customers.  Although the two companies have their differences, they both have well-known e-commerce marketplaces which enabled third party sellers to sell their items to customers. Starting this fall, customers will be able to print the shipping labels right from the Walmart.com website, even if they are buying goods from third parties. The website will also clearly indicate the return policies…more

**********************************

Know More About Reverse Logistics Market with Prediction by Leading Manufacturers, Recent Trends and Analysis of Developed Regions Between 2018-2023

August 9, 2018

The Global Reverse Logistics Market Report includes a comprehensive analysis of the present market. The report starts with the basic Reverse Logistics Market overview and then goes into each and every detail.   This press release was originally distributed by SBWire  Pune, India — (SBWIRE) — 08/09/2018 — Reverse Logistics stands for all operations related to the reuse of products and materials. It is the process of planning, implementing and controlling efficient, cost effective flow of raw materials, in-process inventory, finished goods and related information from the point of consumption to the point of origin for the purpose of recapturing value or proper disposal. This process includes the management and the sale of surplus as well as returned equipment and machines from the hardware leasing business. Reverse Logistics is sometimes called aftermarket supply chain, aftermarket logistics or retrogistics…more

**********************************

Returns Are the Achilles Heel of Ecommerce

August 9, 2018

Walmart may leverage its physical stores to facilitate returns of items sold by third-party marketplace sellers, according to CNBC, which could help it compete against Amazon.  Marketplaces are growing obsessed with returns as a way to improve conversion rates to boost sales growth. But that has the potential to harm sellers of low-margin goods, fragile items, or unique inventory such as antiques and collectibles…more

**********************************

Postal Service Loses $1.5B in Third Quarter Despite Growing Revenue

August 9, 2018

The U.S. Postal Service on Thursday announced a net loss of $1.5 billion in the third quarter of fiscal 2018, including a more than 50 percent increase in what the agency deems “controllable losses” over the same period last year.  The news was not all bad for USPS, as its revenue grew over the April-June period by $400 million. The cash inflow grew by 2.4 percent to $17 billion, and has increased by $600 million year-to-date. The total losses were also a 36 percent decrease from the same quarter in fiscal 2017, though USPS officials cautioned that the improvement was driven by non-recurring accounting changes….more

**********************************

Trump’s Postal Task Force Has Recommendations Ready for the President

August 8, 2018

A task force commissioned by President Trump to recommend steps to put the U.S. Postal Service on firmer financial footing has finished drafting a report, according to an administration official, and is preparing to brief the president on it when he returns to Washington, D.C. The executive order that created the task force, which Trump signed in April, gave the group four months to deliver its recommendations. That deadline was set for Aug. 10. The task force plans to deliver the report to the White House this week, a Treasury Department spokesperson told Government Executive, and will provide the president with a briefing next week when he is expected to return from New Jersey…more

**********************************

Future of USPS, Vital to Ecommerce, to Be Determined

August 8, 2018

This is a big week for retailers and online marketplaces that rely on the postal service to get ecommerce packages delivered. The President’s task force on postal reform will publish its recommendations on Friday – the day after the USPS publishes financial results for the most recent quarter.  While postal reform appears inevitable (and long overdue), there’s a more controversial call to privatize the post office, which readers discussed in this EcommerceBytes Blog post, where you can also find more information about the administration’s views.  Members of Congress are divided on the issue of privatization, but some have proactively drafted a resolution opposing it. Postcom reported that on July 13, Representatives Stephen Lynch (D-MA) and Rodney Davis (R-IL) introduced a resolution calling on Congress to take all appropriate measures to ensure that the Postal Service remain an independent agency of the federal government and not be subject to privatization…more

**********************************

PUDO to facilitate UK-bound e-commerce returns

August 8, 2018

TORONTO – PUDO Inc., a North American courier-neutral Pick-Up Drop-Off Network, has entered an agreement with Delivery Net Inc., and ReBOUND to allow Canadian consumers to use PUDOpoints for returning purchases from major UK fashion and lifestyle websites including ASOS and Mango.  This integration utilizing the ReBOUND returns management platform, represents PUDO’s first foray into UK e-commerce, a thriving ecosystem in which 75 percent of consumers shop online, spending more per capita than any other nation.  “The signing of this Agreement is significant for PUDO in that it represents confidence in our technology and in our Network,” said PUDO CEO Kurtis Arnold.  “The UK is ahead of us in terms of parcel delivery and return logistics with an entrenched PUDO-like network of pick-up/return locations across the UK and Western Europe. In an increasingly global marketplace, they understand the benefits of extending that network overseas and integrating it into their returns protocol.”…more

**********************************

Trump’s privatization plan would destroy the Postal Service

August 7, 2018

The post office has been woven into the fabric of American society since 1775, when the Second Continental Congress appointed Benjamin Franklin as the first postmaster general. Today, the U.S. Postal Service is the most popular government agency in the country, with a favorability rating of nearly 90 percent. But now, President Trump is apparently bent on destroying it.  This week, a task force created following an April executive order from Trump, is scheduled to deliver its recommendations for an overhaul of the Postal Service. Led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, the task force is expected to endorse the privatization proposal buried in the White House’s plan to reorganize the federal government — a radical assault on the administrative state…more

**********************************

 Deadline for PostalPitch startup competition fast approaching

August 7, 2018

The deadline for the next PostalPitch Startup Day competition, which will be held at Post-Expo 2018 in Hamburg, Germany, on October 9, is fast approaching. Startups need to ensure their entries are submitted by August 19.  The competition invites startups to present innovative products or solutions with a unique value proposition that may have the potential to change the postal and logistics market or even create a new market.  Startups will be given the opportunity to present their idea to a wide audience at Post-Expo. A jury of postal and logistics experts, including from Deutsche Post DHL, Liban Post and Swiss Post, will select a winner, who will receive the StartUp Innovation Award.  The award will presented to the winning company alongside the Postal and Parcel Technology International Awards ceremony at Post-Expo on October 9…more

**********************************

 Robot vs man in the last mile

August 7, 2018

Posten Norge will soon trial robot delivery, but is it a practical idea? Marek Różycki (Last Mile Experts) and Ian Kerr (Postal Hub Podcast) analyze the pros and cons of autonomous last-mile delivery.  Norway’s Posten Norge has announced a partnership with an autonomous vehicle company to develop robots – or AGVs – to deliver the last mile. The new robot will be tested for residential delivery later this year. But is it a practical idea?  The ‘last foot’  Posten Norge isn’t first out of the gates when it comes to autonomous delivery. Land-based robots have been trialled for delivery, including an ambitious announcement from Daimler last year that would see its vans transport armies of Starship robots about the suburbs. Similarly, aerial drone delivery has been trialled in various parts of the world.  These autonomous vehicles always struggle with the ‘last foot’. That is, the robot can’t ring a customer’s doorbell, open a standard letterbox, or chat about the weather with customers…more

**********************************

The U.S. Postal Service Just Profiled Millennials, Then Made This Goofy Picture of Them

August 6, 2018

The USPS has a serious problem with Millennials using the mail. And an even more serious problem understanding how to win them back, minus the goofy cartoon drawings.  Millennials are standing around a Post Office box. One has a letter in his hand, and another has a package. Of course there’s one riding a bike, and two are walking a dog. There’s quite a few who appear to have trendy hairstyles and skinny jeans.  There’s only one problem.  Millennials are not using the post office. In fact, in a report that attempts to explain how Millennials are using the mail and how the USPS can appeal to them again, many of the findings seem like they are a total shot in the dark…more

**********************************

A New UPS Union Contract Shows How Online Shopping Is Dragging Down Delivery Jobs

August 3, 2018

A proposal between the Teamsters and UPS would create a separate category of lower-paid drivers to help deliver your stuff from Amazon.  Pretty soon there may be a new kind of delivery driver working alongside Ken Smith at his UPS facility in Tempe, Ariz. ― drivers who do pretty much the same work, only for less pay and over the weekend.  Smith’s union, the Teamsters, is negotiating a new five-year collective bargaining agreement with UPS that will cover a whopping 260,000 workers. The tentative agreement that’s been reached would create a new class of “hybrid” drivers who would have two duties: sorting packages at UPS facilities and delivering them out on the truck. Their work week would include Saturdays and likely Sundays as well.  The new classification would grant some relief to harried drivers like Smith who want to avoid weekend work and help UPS become more nimble in the hyper-competitive age of Amazon. But it comes with a big catch…more

**********************************

Amazon forms U.S. Postal Service lobby group with other companies

August 1, 2018

Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and other retail and logistics companies said on Wednesday they had started a new group to lobby to keep the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) package delivery services “reliable and affordable.” The announcement comes days before a task force set up by President Donald Trump is due to recommend postal reforms to the White House. Trump has said without evidence that the world’s largest online retailer is making the postal service incur losses, mandating the task force review USPS pricing on package delivery. While Amazon has steered clear of any quarrel with the president, the Package Coalition is now poised to take the company’s case to the public as the government weighs changes affecting USPS…more

**********************************

Retail Returns Specialist Optoro Raises $75 Million in New Funding

July 30, 2018

Logistics technology specialist Optoro Inc. has raised $75 million in new funding to expand development and sales of its software aimed at helping retailers handle returns and resales of merchandise, a capability taking on greater importance under e-commerce.  The new funding round, led by Franklin Templeton Investments, a unit of Franklin Resources Inc., BEN 5.73% brings the company’s total capital raised to $200 million. Optoro said the round included new and existing investors, including a large state pension fund. The company declined to disclose its current valuation.  Optoro is one of a handful of third-party software and logistics companies working to improve the costly returns process, known as reverse logistics, for retail sales that are increasingly happening online. Optoro estimates the annual U.S. market for customer returns is $380 billion and is growing rapidly as consumers get more comfortable buying and returning online purchases…more

**********************************

How to build customer loyalty with shipping

July 30, 2018

We’re all familiar with the oft-cited claim: it’s more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. There are plenty of articles, infographics, and ebooks that offer online retailers various ways to improve customer retention. The problem is that many of these resources fail to discuss one part of the e-commerce experience that is a perfect opportunity to increase customer loyalty: shipping.  Some retailers see shipping and delivery as solely utilitarian. In reality, how you handle this process can be a big indicator of your commitment to your customers.  Here are three ways you can create a shipping experience that encourages customer loyalty…more

**********************************

Omnichannel Starts In the Palm of Your Hand

July 30, 2018

Traditional brick-and-mortar retail isn’t going extinct; it’s just evolving. The retail storefront is no longer the place customers go to find the items they want. Rather, it’s the final destination for customers to have experiences and interact with their favorite brands. As a result, retailers are turning their focus to blending the perfect “bricks-and-clicks” omnichannel strategy to drive their customers back to the store.  This strategy starts in the palm of the customer’s hand. “Near me” and “where to buy” mobile searches exploded by 300% and 85% respectively from 2015 to 2017 across all industries. Gartner L2’s Mobile Marketing report also credits mobile for 59% of all retail traffic, a clear indication that consumers look for products online before they even think about going to a store…more

**********************************

Walmart discovers why the ‘last mile’ is the hardest

July 30, 2018

Standing before an audience of 14,000 people last year, Walmart Inc executives described a radical plan to help it fend off Amazon.com Inc and other online delivery services from stealing its customers.  Walmart’s own store employees would bring online orders directly to shoppers’ homes after completing their usual shifts of up to nine hours on the sales floors. Aiming to lower the retailer’s shipping costs by tapping its massive workforce, the program was part of a multi-pronged strategy to boost its $11.5 billion U.S. ecommerce business and tackle one of the biggest challenges in retail: the so-called “last mile” of delivering goods to online customers.  Its workers, meanwhile, could earn extra money on top of their hourly pay, which starts at $11 an hour…more

**********************************

Returns: Record-breaking Prime Day’s aftermath

July 26, 2018

Suppliers and retailers must prepare for a surge in consumers returning goods — or risk products turning in to “dead money.”  Now in its fourth year, Amazon Prime Day has grown into a major shopping event that not only drives online sales but creates ripple effects throughout the entire retail industry. Several retailers now piggyback on the event with their own “Black Friday in July” sales and report a bump in revenues in the days surrounding the 36-hour event. Best Buy, Macy’s and Lowe’s all held special in-store and online sales while Target announced its own day of deals with “no membership required.”  But much like what happens during the Christmas holidays, big sales can come with big returns. Now in the middle of its 30-day return period from Prime Day, Amazon and several retailers are likely fielding the return of hundreds of thousands or even millions of products…more

**********************************

Trump is doubling down on his claims that Amazon uses the US Postal Service as a ‘delivery boy,’ and it could be a major blow to countless American businesses

July 23, 2018

President Donald Trump is doubling down on his claims that Amazon is abusing its relationship with the US Postal Service.  “The Amazon Washington Post has gone crazy against me ever since they lost the Internet Tax Case in the U.S. Supreme Court two months ago,” Trump tweeted on Monday. “Next up is the U.S. Post Office which they use, at a fraction of real cost, as their ‘delivery boy’ for a BIG percentage of their packages.”  The tweet is part of a months-long battle that Trump has waged against Amazon, focusing on the e-commerce giant’s use of the USPS for deliveries.  In April, Trump ordered the formation of a task force to investigate the USPS and what he called its “unsustainable financial path.” The order said the USPS had lost $65 billion since the Great Recession and needed to be “restructured to prevent a taxpayer-funded bailout.” …more

**********************************

USPS Executives to Speak on Returns Solutions

July 23, 2018

“Return to the Future” Registration Now OPEN!  Arlington, Va. – PostalVision 2020 and the Reverse Logistics Association (RLA) are excited to make this first announcement of speakers for the upcoming “Return to the Future” one-day event to be held Thursday, September 20, 2018. USPS Vice President of Product Innovation Gary Reblin and USPS Director of Product Management, Shipping, Jay Smith both will be speaking at the event, with presentation focusing on how the USPS is working to build and enhance its product returns solutions and support the returns/reverse logistics and retail ecosystems.  Reblin is no stranger to PostalVision events, having served on the PostalPitch startup competition jury with the finalists presenting and winner awarded at the PostalVision 2018 annual event. Both Reblin and Smith work in USPS areas focused on product innovation – something critical in the returns/reverse logistics ecosystem. “We are excited, as always, to have a great level of USPS participation in the event,” said PostalVision director John Callan. “Gary and Jay have a wealth of knowledge in the parcels and shipping industry that is invaluable to these discussions and the USPS is well-suited to provide a variety of returns solutions.” “The Postal Service is an integral piece of the reverse logistics and returns supply chain,” said RLA executive director Tony Sciarrotta. “The USPS network and solutions are an important part of the discussion on the future of returns.”…more

**********************************

Customer expectation of free returns puts the squeeze on small retailers

July 22, 2018

With the generous online return policies of many larger retailers, consumers have grown accustomed to free returns.  In fact, the promise of free or cheap returns has led to more so-called “intentional returns.” A recent report by Brightpearl found that one quarter of survey respondents said they have bought multiple items with the intention of sending some back.  Given the added costs to process returns, retailers must understand their return volume and develop a strategy to meet customer expectations while not adversely impacting their bottom lines, say experts…more

**********************************

Resolution Opposing Privatization of the Postal Service Introduced in Congress

July 19, 2018

On July 16, a leading group of Congressional representatives took action to help combat a proposal to privatize the Postal Service. The proposal, put forward by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget in their report Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century, would “restructure the U.S. Postal Service” and “prepare it for future conversion from a government agency into a privately-held corporation.”  APWU thanks the bipartisan group of representatives for introducing House Resolution 993 in response to this attack. The resolution calls on Congress to take all appropriate measures to ensure that the United States Postal Service remains an independent establishment of the Federal Government and not be subject to privatization.  The resolution was introduced by Rodney Davis (R-IL) and Stephen Lynch (D-MA) and co-sponsored by Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Paul Cook (R-CA), Brian Mast (R-FL), Don Young (R-AK), Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Dave Loebsack (D-IA) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH)…more

**********************************

McCaskill says rural America would be hurt by U.S. Postal Service privatization

July 19, 2018

The Trump administration is proposing to restructure the U.S. Postal Service. President Donald Trump says privatizing the agency would allow the postal service to increase prices, deliver mail fewer days a week and give it greater flexibility during today’s digital world. During a committee hearing this week in Washington about the proposed plan, Missouri U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill says the business model would result in one reality.  “The same reality that faced rural communities when it was time for them to get electricity—the same reality that faces rural communities when they need to get broadband. And that is, there is no business model that will provide the level of profit that that last mile of real estate requires,” McCaskill says.  The Postal Service has been asking for flexibility to increase prices and ease some of the burdens of its workers’ retirement benefits…more

**********************************

UPS Tests Amazon Key-Like Apartment Building Delivery System

July 18, 2018

UPS is only using Latch systems to enter buildings, not individual apartments. When making a delivery, the UPS delivery driver will receive a unique credential which can be used for access.  If you live in an apartment building without a doorman, receiving packages can be a pain. UPS is looking to change that with a new Amazon Key-like delivery service it’s piloting with smart access device maker Latch.  Latch’s system lets residents and others unlock doors throughout a building with just a smartphone. Now, UPS is using the system to enter apartment buildings and drop off packages…more

**********************************

Managing Ecommerce Returns While Maximizing Profits

July 18, 2018

How to stop returns from being a loss leader by turning them into an ecommerce asset.  We’ve all seen an infomercial that promises to let you return an item if you’re at all unhappy with your purchase. “If for any reason you’re no longer satisfied with your Snuggie, simply return it for a full refund. No questions asked.” Many ecommerce return policies are based on this philosophy of risk-reversal. If you take away the risk of purchasing with a generously crafted return policy, people will be more likely to buy … But wait there’s more!…more

**********************************

Recent News in Our Ecosystem

Owning an Amazon delivery business: The risks, rewards and economic realities of the tech giant’s new program for entrepreneurs

July 15, 2018

Amazon has a new idea for anyone who has ever dreamed of owning and running a small business, but was daunted by the hurdles, or didn’t know where to start: Launch and run an independent company of your own to deliver its packages.  Intrigued? As with any new business, it won’t be easy. That’s why Amazon promises to help you get started, and provide a steady source of revenue once your company is up and running. It’s a rare opportunity to hitch your entrepreneurial fortunes to one of the fastest-moving companies in the world.  But even with Amazon’s help, it will take an immense amount of work and effort to make your new package delivery business even modestly profitable.  That is a key takeaway from GeekWire’s analysis of the Amazon Delivery Service Partner program. This program is a new effort by the tech giant to spark the creation of hundreds of small businesses across the country. Launched with its help, Amazon hopes these businesses will ultimately employ tens of thousands of delivery drivers in Prime-branded blue vans and uniforms…more

**********************************

Recent News in Our Ecosystem

Amazon’s share of the US e-commerce market is now 49%, or 5% of all retail spend

July 13, 2018

Amazon has already been in the crosshairs of the White House when it comes to threats of antitrust investigations, and while some say this is simply Trumpian bluster that has a slim chance of going anywhere, some new numbers out from the researchers at eMarketer could prove to be a fan to the flames. Amazon is set to clear $258.22 billion in US retail sales in 2018, according to eMarketer’s figures, which will work out to 49.1 percent of all online retail spend in the country, and 5 percent of all retail sales…more

**********************************

FedEx Isn’t Worried About Amazon At All

July 13, 2018

FedEx Corporation stock is down more than 6.6 percent in 2018, and the threat of competition from Amazon.com (AMZN) is a big reason why. However, Bank of America analyst Ken Hoexter met with FedEx management this week, and the company insists that Amazon is more friend than foe. Hoexter says FedEx still has a number of long-term advantages over Amazon and other competitors, and the company has a fairly impressive growth outlook. FedEx is targeting 9 percent revenue growth in fiscal 2019 and at least $1.2 billion in its express unit’s operating income growth. Management said its ground operations can eventually grow operating margins into the upper teens, a slightly more optimistic outlook than the mid-teens target the company previously discussed…more

 

**********************************

Wincanton pick ZigZag global as retail returns partner

July 11, 2018

ZigZag Global, PostalPitch winner at PostalVision’s 2018 conference, has been picked by Wincanton to partner in retail returns.  Wincanton have announced a new strategic partnership with ZigZag Global to gain access to a comprehensive, end to end return solution for the retail market. This partnership forms a part of Wincanton’s recently announced eFulfilment proposition and marks another step in the development of Wincanton’s wider W2 Partner Network.  “The changing nature of online sales, coupled with new innovations in the marketplace, means that the retail sector is being disrupted at an unprecedented rate. This is putting retailers under huge pressure to improve their customer service levels, especially the way in which they manage returns so that the customer is able to rapidly repurchase alternative goods.  In ZigZag, Wincanton has identified a partner with substantial expertise, and a compelling approach to tackling the returns challenge. By integrating Wincanton’s eFulfilment proposition with ZigZag’s technology, we are able to help retailers process and consolidate returns, thereby reducing costs, as well as the burden on their customer service teams. As part of our W2 Partner Network, this agreement is a key differentiator for us.” – Paul Durkin, Director Home and eFulfilment, Wincantonmore

**********************************

Shoppers happy to fork out for quick delivery despite two thirds revealing bad experiences

July 10, 2018

Nearly half of customers (45%) are happy to pay an extra £3-6 for a specific or quicker delivery time, despite almost two thirds (65%) having had a bad delivery experience, according to a consumer study commissioned by enterprise solutions provider HSO.  The poll also revealed that 13% of consumers would be happy to pay between £6-10 while 8% stated that they would not pay anything extra to secure a faster delivery time.  The study discovered that of those two thirds that had a bad delivery experience, more than a third (38%) have had goods arrive late while nearly a quarter (22%) received packages left in the wrong place. Some consumers also noted that despite being ready to receive the delivery, they received a message from the courier citing that it could not be delivered.  HSO sales director Hector Hickmott said: “In today’s retail sector convenience is key, people are used to getting things instantly in most areas of their lives thanks to the internet and obtaining goods should be no exception. Retailers must be able to meet these customer expectations to retain business and remain competitive. To deliver this an effective logistics network is critical.”  The research also discovered that the option to ‘click and collect’ products from a store remains a popular choice among shoppers with 52% opting to use this method 2-10 times in the past year…more

**********************************

USPS has a new way to ensure you get all of your mail: Money Matters

July 8, 2018

Q: We don’t have a locking mailbox like you suggest, but we do take advantage of a very useful service offered by the U.S. Postal Service called Informed Daily Delivery Digest. You need to create an account with the Postal Service (which is also very handy for all sorts of things such as creating and paying for shipping labels, requesting package pick-up, buying stamps, and such).  Once you establish an account, you can sign up for the optional Daily Digest service, which provides an email with pictures of the mail that is expected to be delivered to you each day, along with an accounting of any packages expected.  And, if you don’t get a particular mail piece, you let them know that through a single click on a box in the email: “I didn’t receive this piece.”  We have found this service to be very helpful and reassuring in helping you to know that you are receiving the mail pieces that have been sent to you.  It is free, painless, and very useful — how often can that be said for a service of any kind?  D.R., Bainbridge Township  A: This relatively new service from the Postal Service definitely can provide some reassurance to consumers whether they’re getting all of their mail or not…more

**********************************

Postal services in Poland and Netherlands go electric

July 5, 2018

Not only Deutsche Post looks into electrifying their delivery operations. A new initiative by the Dutch PostNL now replaces diesel vehicles with electric cargo bikes in Utrecht. Also the mail service in Poland, Poczta Polska, wants to electrify by developing their own vehicle.  Utrecht is the latest city where Post NL deploys what they call their electric carrier bikes. The cargo pedelecs replace small diesel vehicles and deliver mail to business. They also carry postmen and women to empty more than 150 letterboxes in the city, as well as delivering parcels.  According to PostNL, they thus replace 20 car rides every day. This means 560 emission-free delivery kilometres a day. A special transfer location, like a mini logistics hub, has been created in the Utrecht city centre…more

**********************************

E-tailers exploring ways to improve reverse logistics costs: Study

July 5, 2018

E-tailers are increasingly looking for ways to improve their “reverse logistics” capabilities to offset the high costs associated with handling returned goods, a study by Zebra Technologies said today.  Reverse logistics refers to the process of return of a product to the manufacturer or the company.  “The rising consumer demand for free and fast product delivery correlates with a surge in product returns. Fulfilment and returns go hand in hand; they represent the two halves of the supply chain. While fulfilment means bringing products to market, returns flow the product in reverse back through the supply chain,” the report said.  It added that while handling product returns is not a new challenge, it has become an “infinitely bigger concern” in an omni-channel marketplace.  “It is also extraordinarily costly and is eating into already pressured profit margins,” it said, adding that shoppers return an estimated over USD 600 billion worth of goods each year…more

**********************************

As Trump pushes to privatize the troubled Postal Service, others push back

July 5, 2018

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver recalls the days when, every morning at 10, his grandmother would walk to the post office in Waxahachie, Texas, to catch up with friends, family and other community members.  “The postal service is, for rural America, more than a mail delivery system,” Cleaver, a Kansas City Democrat, said in a phone interview. “It’s a link between people who would like to have interaction with other people in their community, and they do so at the post office.”  President Donald Trump is calling for privatization of the floundering U.S. Postal Service, aiming for its eventual sale as a completely independent corporation. Cleaver and other lawmakers say rural communities would be left in the lurch…more

**********************************

Sorry, Amazon, Your New Startups Won’t Help You Win Last-Mile Delivery

July 4, 2018

PostalVision 2017 speaker Laura Behrens Wu, Shippo, writes… In the race to win last-mile delivery, Amazon launches another experiment. Here’s what you should know. Last week, Amazon announced a call for entrepreneurs to start delivery businesses–Amazon’s latest attempt at mastering last-mile delivery. It’s become a desolate battlefield, due to the hefty expense of bringing packages to people’s doorsteps.  Mail carriers struggle to gain access to apartment complexes. They travel narrow roads to reach remote addresses. It takes major scale and infrastructure to be profitable. The USPS is the one entity required to visit every U.S. residence daily, a core competency they’ve developed over hundreds of years…more

**********************************

ICBA urges Treasury to prohibit postal banking

July 3, 2018

The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) is asking the Treasury Department to prohibit any effort to expand services of the U.S. Postal Service to include banking. In April, Sen. Kristin Gillibrand (D-NY) proposed legislation to allow post offices to offer consumer banking services. “For millions of families who have no access or limited access to a traditional bank, the simple act of cashing a paycheck or taking out a small loan to fix a car or pay the gas bill can end up costing thousands of dollars in interest and fees that are nearly impossible to pay off,” Gillibrand said back in April, reported The Hill…more

**********************************

International Logistics: Five Ways to Simplify Cross-Border Shipping

July 2, 2018

PostalVision 2020 Speaker, A J Hernandez, CEO SkyPostal, writes on International Logistics.  International logistics can get tricky when you’re expanding into new markets or growing your business abroad.  Avoid getting your packages held up at customs or your parcels being abandoned by your customers by simplifying your cross-border planning with these five tips.  1. Find the Right Fulfillment Location – If you’re traveling to the U.K. from the United States for vacation, it makes a big difference whether you’re departing from New York or Los Angeles. The same is true for shipping your international parcels.  Third-party fulfillment allows you to position your inventory as close to your customer base as possible. Compared to self-fulfillment, where your company ships, houses, and packages the parcels onsite, third-party fulfillment takes most of that work off your hands and enables you to respond rapidly to changes in global demand for your products…more

**********************************

7% of apparel sales are now online

July 2, 2018

Online apparel sales accounted for 27.4% of overall U.S. apparel sales last year, up from 23.5% in 2016 and 20.7% in 2015, according to the most recent Internet Retailer Online Apparel Report published last week.  Apparel retailers dominated Internet Retailer’s 2018 Top 1000 list with 266 (more than any other category) making the list. That doesn’t include mass-merchant giants like Amazon (number one on that list) and Walmart (number three)…more

**********************************

Shopify acquires ecommerce return solution Return Magic

June 26, 2018

Shopify has acquired another app for its ever-expanding portfolio.  On Tuesday, the Ottawa-based ecommerce darling announced that it had acquired the Montreal-based developers behind Return Magic, an ecommerce return solution for Shopify that also happens to be the platform’s number one app, with nearly 2500 customers.  Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but Shopify general manager of shipping Louis Kearns told ITBusiness.ca that four members of the Return Magic team, including co-founder and CEO-turned-Shopify product lead Guillaume Racine and co-founder and CTO-turned-senior engineering lead Raff Paquin, would be joining Shopify’s Montreal team next month, and “continue to expand on the technology they have been building since founding [Return Magic] in November 2016.”…more

**********************************

Retail Roundup: Return Rankings; Gap, Dollar Tree Brand Sales?

June 25, 2018

As retail changes and companies struggle to attract and retain customers, several themes have emerged, including improved customer service and convenience.  And much like Elaine Benes claiming that the breakup is the most important part of a relationship, returns are a major factor in both those areas. It comes down to trust: A consumer is more likely to buy from a company that they feel will support them even if the purchase doesn’t work out, and make it easy to get their money back. So, on the heels of news Amazon.com (AMZN) bans consumers who return items too frequently earlier this year, Barron’s spoke with Olga Andrienko, head of global marketing at search analytics firm SEMrush, who researches consumer queries’ about major U.S. retailers return policies…more

**********************************

Postal banking, warts and all, is part of the payday conversation

June 21, 2018

You have no doubt read that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., has introduced legislation that would essentially turn our nation’s 36,000 post offices into quasi-banks, a move she thinks would squash payday lenders and provide more affordable financial services to consumers along the way. In her words: “Literally the only person who is going to be against this is somebody who wants to protect payday lender profits.” The reaction to just about anything Gillibrand says tends to be pretty predictable. Those with left leanings swoon at the Democrat’s every idea and those leaning right will write her off as a Lib-Kook. But setting aside any gut-level reaction about the senator or her claim that opposing her legislation is the moral equivalent of a Facebook “like” for payday vultures, is Gillibrand’s proposal a good idea? Well, it’s exactly half of a good idea…more

**********************************

HUB BY AMAZON NOW AVAILABLE FOR INSTALLATION ACROSS THE US

June 19, 2018

Amazon has announced that its “Hub by Amazon” delivery solution for apartments is now available for installation “across the United States”.  In a statement issued today (19 June), Amazon reported: “Over 500,000 residents—from New York City to San Francisco, among others—already have access to the Hub by Amazon with thousands more gaining access each month as new Hubs are installed in apartment communities across the country.” Essentially, the Hub is a parcel terminal that apartment residents can use to receive deliveries from any sender, not just Amazon….more

**********************************

CVS Adds Home Delivery With Help From Post Office

June 19, 2018

CVS Health Corp. has enlisted the U.S. Postal Service for a new home delivery service, as the drugstore giant strives to stave off Amazon.com Inc. and other rivals. CVS struck a deal with the Postal Service to pick up prescriptions at CVS stores and bring them to customers’ homes in one or two days.   Customers will be charged $4.99 per delivery, which could include over-the-counter products such as aspirin or face wash…more

**********************************

The Postal Service Is Not Subject to Trump’s Workforce Executive Orders

June 12, 2018

President Trump’s executive orders on the federal workforce will carve out about 600,000 federal employees: those at the U.S. Postal Service. The Office of Personnel Management confirmed the exemption to Government Executive after informing one of the major postal unions directly. The orders aim to streamline the disciplinary process for federal employees, boost oversight of official time and reduce its use, and revamp collective bargaining between unions and agencies. The executive orders concern chapters of Title Five of the U.S. Code that do not apply to the Postal Service, an OPM spokesperson said on Tuesday. That squares with an analysis conducted by outside attorneys for the National Association of Letter Carriers, said Fredric Rolando, the union’s president…more

**********************************

Postal Stakeholders Are Impressed With Trump’s Task Force So Far

June 8, 2018

President Trump’s task force to overhaul the U.S. Postal Service is up and running, and despite concerns that its members would simply follow the direction preset by the tweeter-in-chief, stakeholders in the postal community are impressed with seriousness and attention to detail with which the group has approached its undertaking. The task force, established by an executive order Trump signed in April, has begun holding meetings at the Treasury Department, according to an array of trade organizations, shipping companies and unions. Trump tapped Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Office of Personnel Management Director Jeff Pon and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney to head up the task force, but their staffers have so far led the charge. Overall, participants in the meetings have come away impressed with the officials’ knowledge base and commitment to learning more about what has caused the Postal Service to find itself in such a shaky financial position…more

**********************************

Bernie Sanders Is to Deliver a Commonsense Plan to Save the Postal Service

June 7, 2018

In a letter shared with The Nation ahead of its release, Sanders warned Mnuchin, who is chairing the President’s task force, that “it would be a disaster if the President or members of his Administration believe the ultimate solution is to privatize the Postal Service.” “If the goal of the Postal Service is to make as much money as possible,” Sanders told The Nation, “tens of millions of people, particularly low-income people and people in rural areas, will see a decline in or doing away with basic mail services.” Instead, Sanders urged Mnuchin to support sweeping reforms that would allow the agency to offer new services and escape restrictive funding obligations. Some of these proposals would require Congress to pass new laws, while others would require Postal Service management to undo years of internal cuts…more

**********************************

Italy Turns to Postal Police to Fight Fake News

June 7, 2018

Italy’s leaning on crime fighters of yesteryear in its battle against fake news: the postal police. As misinformation campaigns roil electoral processes, from the U.S. 2016 presidential race and the U.K.’s Brexit referendum to Italy’s March general elections, governments around the world are struggling to block the onslaught of fake news. France’s effort to address the issue with new legislation — its anti-fake news bill lands in parliament Thursday — is already raising questions about whether it’s the best answer to a complicated problem. Italy, for its part, is going down a different route, mixing the new with the old. The country is calling on its once-outdated Polizia Postale, or postal police, to stop the spread of unfounded reports on the web…more

**********************************

Target makes a big leap in the delivery wars against Amazon, Walmart

June 7, 2018

Target has reached an important milestone in the delivery wars versus Walmart, Amazon and others. The company is now more than halfway through its rollout of same-day delivery with Shipt and the launch of a curbside pickup service known as “Drive Up.” Its goal, which Target said it’s well on track to meet, is to have the services available at the majority of its stores before the holiday season. The discount retailer said Chicago will be the first city in the U.S. to have all four of its new delivery and pickup options — Shipt, Drive Up, Target Restock and the fulfillment of online orders from within stores — starting this week. Shipt, which Target acquired just a few months ago for $550 million, uses personal shoppers to stay in communication with a customer as they pick up items in the store. The personal shoppers text a recipient if an item is out of stock and alert him or her en route to delivery, for example. Target Restock is a delivery option that allows customers to order everyday essentials, like beauty and pet products, filling up a box up to roughly 45 pounds. (Amazon has a similar offering called Prime Pantry.)…more

**********************************

Retailers (including Amazon) Crack Down on Return Fraud

June 6, 2018

Ecommerce customers value a lenient and free return process. The most successful online and omnichannel merchants have been willing to accommodate those wishes. Until recently. A survey by the National Retail Federation estimated that retail return fraud costs all merchants as much as $15 billion in 2017. An example is “wardrobing” or “free renting,” wherein consumers purchase an item, use it, and then return it. Other cases involve returning stolen goods for cash. Retailers want to rein in returns, especially when they believe that participants are committing fraud. As a consequence, both ecommerce and brick-and-mortar retailers are tightening their return policies…more

**********************************

U.S. postal stamp helped fund key breast study

June 4, 2018

Countless breast cancer patients in the future will be spared millions of dollars of chemotherapy thanks in part to something that millions of Americans did that cost them just pennies: bought a postage stamp. Proceeds from the U.S. Postal Service’s breast cancer stamp put researchers over the top when they were trying to get enough money to do the landmark study published on Sunday that showed genetic testing can reveal which women with early-stage breast cancer need chemo and which do not…more

**********************************

You’ve got mail: Cuba, U.S. make permanent restored postal services

June 1, 2018

Cuba and the United States are making the re-establishment of postal services permanent after a trial run, the state-run Cuban News Agency reported on Friday, as cooperation in some areas inches forward despite a chill in relations under the Trump administration…more

**********************************

Belgium’s Bpost eyes cross-border deliveries boost with DHL partnership

May 30, 2018

Belgian postal operator Bpost said on Wednesday it was teaming up with DHL for e-commerce deliveries in the Benelux region, in a move to boost its position in cross-border deliveries of online purchases….more

**********************************

Amazon is taking its package-delivery tracking to the next level

May 25, 2018

We have all, on the day we’re expecting a package, gone to Amazon’s “track package” page and refreshed, only to be rewarded, every time, with “Delivery expected by 8pm.” But this week Amazon is rolling out a new feature that allows customers to track packages on a map when the package is within 10 stops of their home, according to CNET. But the feature comes with a caveat: it’s only available for packages shipped through Amazon’s logistics service, not USPS, FedEx, or UPS. If your package is shipped through Amazon, the carrier will be listed as AMZL_US. This comes after news that Amazon is looking to beef up its internal logistics network comprised of local-partner shipping services, and even launch its own carrier service. Amazon started to test the map tracking with a small group of users in November 2017, as a part of its ongoing effort to make its delivery process more transparent. The e-commerce giant has also been expanding its program where delivery drivers take a picture of your delivered package after its arrival….more

**********************************

Trump To Postmaster General: Raise Rates On Amazon

May 19, 2018

The Washington Post is reporting that President Trump personally pressured the Postmaster General to crack down on the rates the U.S. Postal Service is charging to deliver packages for Amazon…more

***********************************

Royal Mail predicts decline in letter volumes as data rules hit

May 17, 2018

Royal Mail has warned that new European data laws could reduce the number of letters being sent, as its British business failed to increase revenue last year. The company said that the impact of the new General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into effect on May 25, meant it expected its decline in addressed letters to be at the upper end of its estimates of 4pc to 6pc. The new laws make it harder for companies to send unsolicited mail to customers. In the year to March 25, Royal Mail’s revenues for marketing mail grew 1pc to £1.1bn…more

***********************************

Local marketplace OfferUp takes on eBay with launch of nationwide shipping

May 1, 2018

OfferUp, the mobile marketplace for buying and selling locally, is expanding its sights beyond your neighborhood. Today, the company is announcing an expansion of its service that will now allow sellers to ship their items nationwide to interested buyers, potentially netting them a larger audience than if trying to sell only within their local community. The feature to browse the items outside your area will appear in a separate “shipping” tab in the new version of the OfferUp app for iOS and Android, arriving today. When sellers list an item, they’ll have the option to toggle on a switch to “sell & ship” nationwide. They then pick the item’s weight from the options that appear (up to 20 lbs). Items must also be under $500, and are shipped via USPS. Buyers are kept up-to-date on the item’s status through the app, as well…more

***********************************

Trump targeting U.S. Postal Service

May 1, 2018

President Trump this month launched an attempt to overhaul the Postal Service through an executive order forming a task force chaired by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to examine the Postal Service’s operations and within 120 days release a report outlining reforms. Stating that the Postal Service had lost $65 billion since 2009, the order added, “The USPS is on an unsustainable financial path and must be restructured to prevent a taxpayer-funded bailout.” Separately, Trump tweeted, “Only fools, or worse, are saying that our money-losing Post Office makes money with Amazon. THEY LOSE A FORTUNE, and this will be changed.” A key fact that ignores: The Postal Service receives NO tax dollars for operating expenses, instead relying on the sale of postage, products and services to fund operations. USPS has tried to correct uninformed attacks, reminding the public that “the reason we continue to attract e-commerce customers and grow our package delivery business is not because of unfair competition with private carriers, but because customers increasingly see the value of our predictable service, enhanced visibility, and competitive pricing.” That doesn’t matter to critics like Trump…more

***********************************

Riding the Returns Wave: Reverse Logistics and the U.S. Postal Service

April 30, 2018

Reverse logistics is not just forward logistics backwards; it is more complex and more expensive. Yet it is becoming more prominent, since return rates for ecommerce purchases are three times higher than for traditional physical retail. The Postal Service handled 148 million return packages in FY 2016, but its share of the returns market is smaller than its share of the outbound parcel market, indicating a potential opportunity for growth. The Postal Service can use its unique advantages, including a vast delivery network that goes to almost every address in the U.S. and a retail network of more than 30,000 post offices, to expand and improve existing returns services and offer new services that will ease the burdensome returns process for customers. In 2016, the OIG issued a white paper, The Evolving Logistics Landscape and the U.S. Postal Service, that noted the continuing surge of ecommerce was fueling a rise in the number of packages returned. We now follow up on that work by identifying emerging trends in reverse logistics as well as potential opportunities for the Postal Service. Notably, the U.S. saw between $113 and $132 billion of online purchases returned in 2017. Facing increased pressure on their reverse supply chains, as well as lost revenue from negated sales, retailers are struggling to address returns in an era when consumers have come to expect fast, free, and easy returns. To address the threats and opportunities presented by ecommerce, the Postal Service could provide services close to its core competencies to serve ecommerce businesses reliant on return shipping as a part of their business model. The Postal Service is well situated to serve the product returns market and already offers many return shipping services demanded by ecommerce retailers and consumers…more

***********************************

PostalPitch Winner ZigZag Global Nominated for World Post & Parcel Award 2018

April 30, 2018

The World Post & Parcel Awards celebrates the successes of the emerging talents in mail and express from the past year. This year’s shortlist showcases a host of progressive businesses. All have demonstrated their ability to adapt to change and embrace the opportunities presented by great upheaval in the industry. The overall winners of the Awards will be announced at a gala presentation evening on Tuesday 12 June at the Royal Lancaster London Hotel, which also plays host to the World Mail and Express Europe Conference, to be held from 11-13 June. The shortlist includes recent PostalPitch Innovation StartUp Award winner ZigZag Global, who received the award at the recent PostalVision 2020 event in Washington, DC…more

***********************************

The Pros and Cons of Postal Banking

April 30, 2018

After weeks of railing against online shopping giant Amazon, President Trump signed an executive order Thursday creating a task force to study the United States Postal System. In the surprise move, Mr. Trump said that USPS is on “an unsustainable financial path” and “must be restructured to prevent a taxpayer-funded bailout.” The task force will be assigned to study factors including USPS’s pricing in the package delivery market and will have 120 days to submit a report with recommendations…more

***********************************

Prime Price Hike Gives Amazon Warchest for Fight Over Postal Costs

April 28, 2018

Amazon.com Inc’s 20 percent hike in the cost of Prime membership should deliver more than $1 billion (roughly Rs. 6,662 crores) in extra revenue this year and cover any “rational” hike in United States Postal Service delivery fees, Wall Street analysts say. President Donald Trump has been laying into the Seattle-based online shopping firm in recent weeks for what he says is a deal with publicly-owned USPS which effectively lumps much of the cost of thousands of daily deliveries onto U.S. taxpayers. Trump has said that if USPS raised parcel rates, Amazon would face $2.6 billion (roughly Rs. 17,321 crores) in extra cost, although equity analysts who follow billionaire Jeff Bezos’ company estimate a much lower number and say the deal may actually be keeping USPS afloat. Several said that Thursday’s move by the company to raise Prime fees to $119 a year from $99 starting June 16 would not faze many of Prime’s estimated 60-65 million U.S. members…more

***********************************

Amazon will now deliver packages to the trunk of your car

April 24, 2018

Last year, Amazon asked for permission to unlock your front door so it could leave packages inside your home, and a certain number of extremely trusting Amazon Prime subscribers (Amazon won’t say how many) said okay. Now, the tech giant wants to do the same thing with your car.  Amazon announced today a new service that gives its couriers access to a person’s vehicle for the purpose of leaving package deliveries inside. But rather than use smart locks and a cloud-connected camera to gain entry, Amazon wants to use the connected technologies embedded in many modern vehicles today. The company is launching this new service in partnership with two major automakers — General Motors and Volvo — and will be rolling out in 37 cities in the US starting today…more

***********************************

Returns Solution for Merchants Wins PostalPitch Startup Award

April 13, 2018

A company that helps merchants with returns has won the PostalPitch Startup Award. The competition was held at the 8th annual PostalVision 2020 conference this month. Product returns are costly and frustrating for sellers, and ZigZag Global promises to reduce costs and manage the process for customers. Here’s how the winning company describes its service:  “ZigZag Global is a software solution to help ecommerce retailers manage returns globally. ZigZag uses predictive analytics to understand the most cost effective and energy efficient route to work out if a retailer should hold and resell returned products in local markets or bring them back via consolidation. Our mission is to help retailers become more sustainable whilst cutting costs by up to 50% and improving the speed of customer refunds by getting stock back in the supply chain more quickly.”  The PostalPitch StartUp competition invited entrepreneurs from all over the world to present their latest ideas, products and solutions to the greater global postal-parcel-logistics-delivery industry at the recent PostalVision event. A jury of industry experts narrowed down the entries to nine finalists who were invited to PostalVision to pitch their solution…more

***********************************

Trump forms task force to study U.S. Postal Service

April 12, 2018

After weeks of railing against online shopping giant Amazon, President Trump signed an executive order Thursday creating a task force to study the United States Postal System. In the surprise move, Mr. Trump said that USPS is on “an unsustainable financial path” and “must be restructured to prevent a taxpayer-funded bailout.” The task force will be assigned to study factors including USPS’s pricing in the package delivery market and will have 120 days to submit a report with recommendations…more

***********************************

Trump Renews Amazon Attack, Says ‘Post Office Scam’ Must Stop

March 31, 2018

President Donald Trump lit into Amazon.com Inc. for the second time in three days with a pair of Twitter messages that said the online retailer “must pay real costs (and taxes) now!” The president on Saturday claimed, citing reports he didn’t specify, that the U.S. Postal Service “will lose $1.50 on average for each package it delivers for Amazon” and added that the “Post Office scam must stop.” Amazon has said the postal service, which has financial problems stretching back for years, makes money on its deliveries…more

***********************************

Retiree health premiums and postal reform

March 30, 2018

When politicians introduce legislation with “reform” in its title, Washington’s political veterans know it probably means one of two things. Either it is:  A must-pass piece of legislation that will solve lots of problems and make things better or…it is time to prepare for a spanking.  So it is with the new Postal Service Reform Act introduced in the Senate. Its cosponsors — three Democrats and one Republican — said it would put the U.S. Postal Service on a better financial foundation. Opponents say that by requiring Medicare Part B enrollment for retirees who already have health insurance it could mean higher health insurance costs for postal retirees and, down the road, maybe for all civil service annuitants…more

***********************************

Amazon, Despite Trump Criticism, Really Delivers for the Postal Service

March 29, 2018

A presidential tweet Thursday suggested Amazon Inc. is exploiting the public mail system for its own gain. The company has benefited from the U.S. Postal Service’s cheap and vast delivery network, but the online retail giant also has bolstered the agency’s struggling operations….more

***********************************

Shyp CEO Announces End Of Delivery Startup

March 27, 2018

Crunchbase News has covered delivery companies repeatedly over the past year. With Instacart ramping up for grocery delivery in its competition with Amazon and Softbank betting $535 million on food delivery company DoorDash. However, the delivery world, as some have found, is not as lucrative as it might seem. Shyp is the latest victim in the sphere. As CEO Kevin Gibbon wrote in an announcement today, the company is shutting down operations, effective immediately….more

***********************************

FEDEX BUYS P2P MAILING

March 27, 2018

FedEx has bought the international e-commerce delivery solutions provider P2P Mailing Limited from The Delivery Group for £92m. In a statement sent to Post&Parcel today (27 March), FedEx said that P2P’s capabilities “complement and expand the FedEx portfolio of offerings important to the rapidly growing global e-commerce marketplace”. P2P will operate as a subsidiary of FedEx Cross Border within the FedEx Trade Networks operating company. “Global e-commerce continues to grow at a rapid pace, and more and more merchants, marketplaces, e-commerce and social platforms are looking for innovative, cost-effective ways to get merchandise from distribution points in one country to customers in another,” said Carl W. Asmus, president and CEO, FedEx Cross Border…more

***********************************

Postal Service Reform Legislation Introduced in Senate

March 26, 2018

Legislation has been introduced in the Senate in an attempt to improve the ailing finances of the Postal Service. The Postal Service is hemorrhaging money, having now reported 11 straight years of financial losses. Its latest financial report showed a $540 million net loss for the first quarter of FY 2018. These losses came amidst the busy Christmas shipping season in which the Postal Service set a record on December 18th when it delivered more than 37 million packages, yet it still had a net loss for the quarter…more

***********************************

FedEx zeroes in on reverse logistics

March 23, 2018

FedEx announced a new platform for package returns, dubbed FedEx Returns Technology, that will enable merchants to manage their returns and give customers access to an easier return process, CNBC reports. The company didn’t specify when it planned to make this offering available to retailers and their customers, but it offered several details on its potential use…more

***********************************

Walmart opening FedEx Office locations in 500 stores

March 21, 2018

FedEx Office, a subsidiary of FedEx, on Tuesday announced it will bring 500 new FedEx Office packing, shipping and printing locations to U.S. Walmart stores. At ShopTalk in Las Vegas the companies said a pilot program had successfully driven more traffic to the retailer while smoothing logistical problems.  The companies piloted the effort in 47 Walmart stores in six states, and will expand in the next 24 months, according to a FedEx press release…more

***********************************

Walmart’s Ecommerce CEO Explains Why Its Many Acquisitions Will Help It Reach Millennials

March 21, 2018

While Walmart’s acquisitions of ModCloth, Jet, Bonobos appear like a game of catch up to the rest of the industry, Marc Lore, president and CEO of Walmart Ecommerce US, said there’s a bigger strategy at play. Part of that plan is bringing together the knowledge of all these digitally native brands into the world of Walmart, shared Lore at Shoptalk, a retail conference held in Las Vegas. “[We’re] trying to create a portfolio of these brands that give us proprietary content for a reason for [a] millennial to come shop inside the Walmart ecosystem,” Lore said “We’re not going out making billion dollar acquisitions. We’re buying companies that can help accelerate us to the fundamentals.” Andy Dunn, founder and CEO of Bonobos and svp of digital consumer brands at Walmart, believes these acquisitions will let Walmart “play offense.”…more

***********************************

FedEx launches comprehensive returns tool

March 21, 2018

FedEx’s newly launched Returns Technology tool is a full visibility tool for the reverse supply chain, allowing e-tailers to track the return of items from the consumer back to the warehouse. The reverse logistics tool intends to allow e-tailers to “manage inventory, analyze returns trends and make more informed decisions based on shoppers’ returns behaviors.” As e-commerce swallows consumer spending, it’s increasingly important for 3PLs to offer retailers and e-tailers a more efficient and effective returns method….more

***********************************

Online Returns Represent Big Business

March 20, 2018

Product returns may be costly headaches for online sellers, but shipping carriers and liquidators see opportunity. FedEx just launched a new feature to help merchants, and the United States Postmaster General recently said the USPS wants to “own” the returns business.  On Monday, FedEx launched FedEx Returns Technology, a comprehensive solution for returns management…more

***********************************

How Instacart Survived Amazon

March 19, 2018

The 2007 launch of AmazonFresh drew blood from the grocery industry, beginning Amazon’s shark-like strategy of long, slow circling, culminating with an attack in the form of its Whole Foods acquisition last year. Yet rival delivery service Instacart has managed to remain afloat and continues to ink partnerships with grocers, most recently Kroger. The success of both companies indicates that, at least for the time being, grocers can leverage partnerships to swim and not sink.  Nearly 60% of grocers in L2’s inaugural Digital IQ Index: Grocery that have brick-and-mortar stores partner with Instacart, leveraging the platform to serve additional markets and complement their own delivery offerings. In regions where Instacart overlaps with brand-owned delivery, however, the platform is not always the most cost-effective option for consumers. To use Instacart, shoppers must pay a $5.99 service fee as well as additional fees during peak hours. In addition, groceries on Instacart are more expensive. The sticker price of the average item is 18% higher on Instacart than on the corresponding grocer’s e-commerce site. While the platform seeks to appeal to shoppers’ desire to find deals—L2 researchers found that 38% of top-ranking Instacart items were on sale—even baskets on sale were 12% more expensive. When L2 researchers shopped for a basket of 10 items on a Safeway Instacart page in Phoenix, seven items were on sale, none of which were discounted on shop.safeway.com. Yet even with all discounts applied, the Instacart basket still cost more…more

***********************************

DHL Steps Back Into U.S. Package Delivery in Challenge to UPS, FedEx

March 15, 2018

Deutsche Post AG’s DPSGY -0.80% DHL business is tiptoeing back into the domestic parcel delivery in the U.S., drawn in by the strong growth in e-commerce to bring new competition to a market that’s been dominated by United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp. FDX -1.18% for a decade. DHL said Thursday it is launching a new same-day and next-day delivery service for online retailers in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. The service will expand to Dallas, Atlanta, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., by the end of the year, and will rapidly add more cities over the next few years. “We pay a lot of attention to what consumers are demanding of the online marketplaces and retailers they’re buying from,” said Lee Spratt, chief executive of DHL eCommerce’s Americas division. “Faster, cost-effective delivery is going to be a future requirement to play in this space.” The firm has been testing its new delivery service, dubbed Parcel Metro, in select cities over the last two years. The service engages drivers through crowd-sourced applications for deliveries within a few hours and taps into local couriers and delivery companies for one- and two-day deliveries, using DHL eCommerce’s warehouse facilities to consolidate orders…more

***********************************

Walmart to Offer Home Delivery of Groceries in 100 Cities

March 14, 2018

Walmart Inc. will offer home delivery of groceries in 100 cities by the end of the year and launch same-day delivery in New York City, adopting a costly model it previously resisted as Amazon, Kroger and Target invest in similar services. Under the new program, online grocery orders will be packed in a Walmart store by company workers and then handed off to a delivery company or startup that uses contract workers to bring orders to homes, said a Walmart spokesman…more

***********************************

Waymo and Google Launch a self-driving truck pilot in Atlanta

March 9, 2018

Waymo’s autonomous trucking program is coming along – though we haven’t heard much about it since discovering it was a real thing last year, Waymo today announced that it’s launching a pilot program in Atlanta to focus specifically on self-driving trucks and automated logistics. The pilot is being done in partnership with Google, another Alphabet company and Waymo’s former direct owner back when it was the Google self-driving car project. Waymo’s trucks will be hauling cargo destined for Google’s Atlanta-based data centres as part of the program…more

***********************************

Uber’s self-driving trucks are now delivering freight in Arizona

March 6, 2018

Uber’s big push to dominate the trucking industry took a leap forward today with the announcement that the ride-hailing giant is now operating its fleet of self-driving trucks on its freight-hauling app. The shipments are taking place in Arizona, where the ride-hailing giant is also testing out its robot taxis. Uber said it is using a transfer hub model, in which the trucks drive autonomously on the highway and human drivers take over for the last miles…more

***********************************

Reverse Logistics in the “Age of Entitlement”

March 5, 2018

The word reverse has long had a negative connotation, as linguists place it in the same grimy nook as “return,” “retreat,” “retread” and “rerun.” Indeed, for many logistics and supply chain professionals, reverse logistics for years has been regarded as pejorative expression. But in today’s era of the fickle e-commerce customer, the reverse loop represents an untapped opportunity for hard-working, imaginative logistics managers and their third-party logistics partners. Tony Sciarrotta, executive director of the Reverse Logistics Association (RLA), maintains that with the return rate of e-commerce purchases being three to four times higher than that for brick-and-mortar purchases, the reverse sector is only going to grow in future years. “With consumers insisting on free returns, reverse logistics is going to be under a lot of pressure to satisfy consumer expectations and demand,” says Sciarrotta. “Furthermore, consumers feel entitled to return goods when they realize that they don’t want or need them.”…more

***********************************

Postal Service Profits Again Tumble During Holiday Season

Feb. 9, 2018

The Postal Service’s earnings during the busy holiday season fell once again in fiscal 2018, with controllable income dropping by nearly one-third and leading to a net loss of $540 million. The mailing agency saw a controllable income—in which USPS excludes items that are out of management’s hands, such as non-cash workers’ compensation—of $353 million during the Oct. 1, 2017-Dec. 31, 2017 period. That was down from $522 million during the same period in fiscal 2017, which itself was down from $1.1 billion in fiscal 2016. USPS blamed the losses on decreases in first-class and marketing mail volume, higher retiree health care expenses and an increase in transportation costs. The agency brought in a total of $19.2 billion in total revenue, unchanged from a year prior. The Postal Service’s operating expenses increased by 11 percent, however, to $19.7 billion. That was in part due to the continued growth of the more labor-intensive package business, which saw a 7 percent uptick in the quarter. Mail volume, on the other hand, declined by 2 billion pieces, or 5 percent…more

***********************************

L.L. Bean Scraps Legendary Lifetime Return Policy

Feb. 9, 2018

L.L. Bean’s outdoor gear — including its signature Bean Boots prized by campers and hipsters alike — is no longer guaranteed for life. In a letter to customers Friday morning, the company said it has updated its return policy to give customers one year to return purchases, with a receipt. The previous lifetime guarantee, which enabled customers to return products years — or even decades — after purchase, has long been a selling point for the company. “Increasingly, a small, but growing number of customers has been interpreting our guarantee well beyond its original intent. Some view it as a lifetime product replacement program, expecting refunds for heavily worn products used over many years. Others seek refunds for products that have been purchased through third parties, such as at yard sales.”‘ L.L. Bean says the policy update will affect only a “small percentage” of returns and pledged to keep its mission of selling “high quality products that inspire and enable people to enjoy the outdoors.” The company says if a product is defective, it will “work with our customers to reach a fair solution” even after a year…more

***********************************

Why your Amazon packages may soon arrive faster

Feb. 9, 2018

Amazon has explored everything from drones to smart door locks allowing deliveries to be made inside customer homes. Now the company is undertaking another part of the retail process: Shipping. Amazon AMZN, -0.81% launched its own shipping service in Los Angeles this week, which will deliver packages directly from third party companies to consumers. The new “Shipping with Amazon” service cuts FedEx FDX, -1.65% and UPS UPS, -2.64% out of the equation to further streamline the delivery process. Amazon already delivers some of its own orders in at least 37 U.S. cities and the company will roll out the service in more cities in coming weeks, The Wall Street Journalreported Friday. Prices for Amazon Prime, a membership that includes free two-day shipping, recently increased to $156 per year. Orders over $25 on Amazon include free standard shipping, and otherwise shipping is $5.99 per order. But what does this mean for your packages? If successful, it could mean fewer delays, faster delivery, and cheaper prices, said Eytan Buchman, vice president of marketing at freight disruption startup Freightos. Amazon has expressed interest in entering the cargo operating world since 2013, shortly after holiday deliveries were delayed by a FedEx mixup…more

***********************************

ASENDIA BUYS GLOBEGISTICS

Feb. 8, 2018

Asendia has acquired the US-based global e-commerce and mail company Globegistics. Globegistics has five facilities in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami, which will further strengthen Asendia’s presence in North America. Globegistics will join the Asendia Group – which was founded by La Poste and Swiss Post – with 15 subsidiaries in Asia, Europe and the USA. Globegistics and Asendia USA will operate as independent entities under their current leadership and will explore opportunities which may be beneficial to both companies…more

***********************************

Reverse Logistics Association Examines “Circular Economy”

Feb. 7, 2018

With the flourishing of e-commerce, product returns have become even more nettlesome for today’s global supply chain managers. At the same time, however, new revenue streams are being created in the 3pl and warehousing sectors. “The Circular Economy” is the theme addressed by The Reverse Logistics Association’s (RLA) at its annual conference and expo in Las Vegas this week. Tony Sciarrotta, RLA’s executive director, maintains that with the return rate of e-commerce purchases being three to four times higher than that for brick-and-mortar purchases, the reverse sector is only going to grow in future years. But not all of the news is good, he cautions. “With consumers insisting on free returns, reverse logistics is going to be under a lot of pressure to satisfy consumer expectations and demand,” he says. “Furthermore, they feel entitled to return goods when they realize that they don’t want or need them.” The industrial landscape is undergoing profound change as well, say real estate experts…more

***********************************

Postal Service Under Increasing Pressure

Feb. 6, 2018

It wasn’t long ago that the national postal service Postnord Denmark was outlining its plans to break even by 2020 by delivering post and parcels together. But it won’t be plain sailing. Firstly, it will face competition from Dansk Supermarked’s new initiative, which will enable customers to send packages from 365 selected Føtex, Netto and Bilka stores – at a reported discount of 30-50 percent on Postnord Denmark. It will surprise many customers to note that some of the supermarkets, which already host Postnord Denmark outlets for sending and receiving packages, will soon open their own. Secondly, there is now talk that Postnord’s Swedish parent company Postnord Sweden plans to start charging customers to receive packages, raising speculation the same practice could be introduced in Denmark…more

***********************************

The rising cost of retail returns fraud

Jan. 18, 2018

New benchmark data released by ACI Worldwide shows a “consistent, alarming uptick in fraudulent activity on key dates”. While online transactions among top U.S. retailers increased by 19% during the recent holiday season, fraud increased by 22%. Peak fraudulent days were Thanksgiving Day (1.94%, up from 1.26% in 2016), Christmas Eve (1.78%, up from 1.48%) and December 21 – the cutoff date for express shipments – (1.67%, up from 1.49%). According to Erika Dietrich, Director of Risk Management at ACI Worldwide, “merchants must be proactive in their efforts to identify weak points across the omni-channel payment process and define the short- and long-term strategies necessary to improve security and enhance customer experience”….more

***********************************

Trucking Industry Struggles With Growing Driver Shortage

Jan. 9, 2018

America needs more truck drivers. The trucking industry is facing a growing shortage of drivers that is pushing some retailers to delay nonessential shipments or pay high prices to get their goods delivered on time. A report from the American Trucking Associations says more than 70 percent of goods consumed in the U.S. are moved by truck, but the industry needs to hire almost 900,000 more drivers to meet rising demand….more

***********************************

Norwegian postal service commits to Tesla Semi order in effort to electrify fleet

Jan. 9, 2018

The Tesla Semi continues to get the attention of companies beyond the United States. Posten Norge, a Norwegian postal service that’s otherwise known as Norway Post, recently placed its order for the Tesla Semi, bolstering its commitment to electrify its fleet of long-haulers. According to Norway Post press head John Eckhoff, the Tesla Semi meets the needs of the European state-owned firm, which is currently aiming for a full transition towards an emissions-free fleet by 2025. Considering the features and capabilities of the Tesla Semi, the massive long-hauler could play a significant role in ensuring that Norway Post does achieve its goal. “We see that the future is electric in all vehicle segments. Therefore, it is important for us to test new technology as early as possible. Technology development is very fast, and the future electric vehicles seem to meet our needs in terms of reach, safety, and costs,” Eckhoff said, according to an E24 report….more

***********************************