jerryking + fulfillment   19

Now bigger than eBay, Shopify sets its sights on Amazon
August 20, 2019 | Financial Times | by Tim Bradshaw, Global Technology Correspondent.

.....ecommerce via social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest, which have become vital to growing online retail outside Amazon, and increasingly important to Shopify.

“Instagram has been the most phenomenal growth vector for small businesses,” said Mr Lütke. “It's a great way to tell stories about products that Amazon, with its static pictures and very sanitised listings, doesn't offer people.” 
Amazon  e-commerce  fulfillment  logistics  retailers  Shopify  Tobias_Lütke 
8 weeks ago by jerryking
The Prime Effect: How Amazon’s Two-Day Shipping Is Disrupting Retail
Sept. 20, 2018 | WSJ | By Christopher Mims.

Amazon.com Inc. has made its Prime program the gold standard for all other online retailers... The $119-a-year Prime program—which now includes more than 100 million members world-wide—has triggered an arms race among the largest retailers, and turned many smaller sellers into remoras who cling for life to the bigger fish.

In the past year, Target Corp. , Walmart Inc. and many vendors on Google Express have all started offering “free” two-day delivery. (Different vendors have different requirements for no-fee shipping, whether it’s order size or loyalty-club membership.)

Amazon and its competitors are often blamed for the death of bricks-and-mortar retail, but the irony is that these online retailers generally achieve fast shipping by investing in real estate—in the form of warehouses rather than stores. To compete on cost, the vendors must typically ship goods via ground transportation, not faster-but-pricier air. The latest to offer free two-day delivery is Overstock.com , which claims it can reach over 99% of the U.S. in that time frame from a single distribution center in Kansas City, Kan.

But the biggest online retailers aren’t the only ones building massive fulfillment centers and similar operations. Fulfillment startups and large companies from other sectors are hoping to scale up by luring smaller sellers who want alternatives to Amazon’s warehousing and delivery operations.
Amazon  Amazon_Prime  arms_race  delivery_times  disruption  e-commerce  free  fulfillment  retailers  same-day  shipping  third-party  warehouses 
september 2018 by jerryking
Amazon’s Ripple Effect on Grocery Industry: Rivals Stock Up on Start-Ups
Aug. 21, 2018 | The New York Times | By Erin Griffith.

When Amazon bought Whole Foods Market. The $13.4 billion deal shook the grocery world, setting off a frenzy of deals and partnerships that continues to intensify. Traditional retailers pursued digital technology, and online companies reconsidered their relationship with brick-and-mortar retail......“Are technology folks like us going to figure out retail faster than the retailers figure out technology?” [the Great Game] ..... “In some ways we’re all kind of fighting the same fight against the gigantic folks online.”

Food shopping is one of the last major holdouts to online retail. Groceries are unique in that their inventory is perishable, fragile and heavy. Grocery customers often shop at the last minute, like to see the food they are about to eat and don’t want to pay high delivery fees.

Even Amazon, with its Amazon Fresh online grocery service, has struggled to gain ground in the business. The company’s Whole Foods deal, paired with Walmart’s 2016 acquisition of Jet.com, underscored that the future of selling food and household items requires cooperation between the digital natives and the old-school retailers.....Grocery companies “are realizing that with Walmart and Amazon moving at their pace, you need to pick yours up, too,” .... “I wouldn’t call it fear. I would call it a wake-up call.”....... Market research conducted by Morgan Stanley in July found that 56 % of consumers who were likely to order groceries online said they would most likely order from Amazon, compared with 14 % who would go to a mass merchandiser and 10 % who would use their local supermarket. Phil Lempert, a grocery industry analyst, predicted store closings for chains that do not evolve to meet the changing needs of customers. Stores offering curated selections, specialty items, cooking classes and the option to buy online and pick up in person will thrive,......Josh Hix, chief executive of Plated, a meal kit start-up, said the Amazon-Whole Foods deal had immediately changed his discussions with grocery chains. Meal kit companies have a checkered record. But the grocery companies saw an opportunity to use Plated’s data and research on recipes and taste preferences......Most of the big grocers “have wanted to kill us, partner with us, invest in us or buy us — all probably in the course of the same conversation,”......The ownership structure allows Boxed to license its technology to its retail competitors in the United States as they try to become more digital. The company is in talks with 10 or so potential partners for various pieces of its technology. They include mobile app technology, personalization software, a packing algorithm that maximizes space in shipping boxes, software that tracks item expiration dates, order management software and warehouse robotics automation........Grocery delivery is difficult to do affordably, but tech-driven efficiencies like those developed by Boxed, Amazon and others have forced change on the industry.

“Consumers want convenience and will pay more for it,
Amazon  AmazonFresh  bricks-and-mortar  e-commerce  home-delivery  partnerships  retailers  same-day  start_ups  the_Great_Game  Whole_Foods  fulfillment  grocery  supermarkets  ripple_effects  e-grocery 
august 2018 by jerryking
Inside FreshDirect’s Big Bet to Win the Home-Delivery Fight - WSJ
By Jennifer Smith
July 18, 2018 5:30 a.m

Designed to keep food fresh longer and move it faster, FreshDirect’s 400,000 square-foot distribution centre is the online grocer’s multimillion-dollar bet on the fastest-growing sector in the grocery business, home-delivery. FreshDirect pioneered the e-commerce home-delivery market, and now with Amazon and big grocery chains like Kroger Co. piling on investments, companies are jockeying for position in a business that some believe is the future of supermarket sales.....FreshDirect's trucks now provide next-day delivery to customers across the New York-New Jersey, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., metropolitan areas, with plans to expand into Boston next. The private company says it generated between $600 million and $700 million in annual revenue in 2017.

It declined to disclose the cost of the new facility, which was financed with the help of a $189 million investment round in 2016 led by J.P. Morgan Asset Management, direct funding and incentives from state and local governments......Amazon, Target Corp. and other large companies have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to expand food delivery and build out their grocery e-commerce operations. Supermarket chain owner Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize NV’s Peapod unit, the longest-running online grocery service in the U.S., has expanded to 24 markets and is investing in technology to cut its handling and delivery costs.

Walmart Inc. said this month that Jet.com, the online retailer it bought two years ago, will open a fulfillment center in the Bronx this fall to help roll out same- and next-day grocery deliveries in New York City.

The grocers are trying to solve one of the toughest problems in home delivery: Getting food to doorsteps in the same condition consumers would expect if they went to the store themselves. Delivering perishables is trickier than dropping off paper towels or dogfood. Fruit bruises, meat spoils, eggs break. ........FreshDirect’s logistic hurdles start well before delivery. It must get products from its suppliers to the building, process the food, then pick, pack and ship orders before the quality degrades.

That is why the new distribution centre has 15 different temperature zones. Tomatoes do best at about 55 degrees, but “chicken and meat like it to be just at 32 degrees... it gives more of shelf life to it,"....Software determines the most efficient route for each order, and tells workers which items to pick.....A big part of the facility [distribution centre] is ripping out tons and tons of operating costs out of the business.....The stakes in getting the technology right are high. FreshDirect is competing with grocery chains that often fill online orders through their stores, using a mix of staff and third-party services like Instacart Inc. So-called click-and-collect services, where consumers swing by to pick up their own orders, tend to have better margins because the retailer isn’t paying for last-mile delivery.....Online-only operations with centralized warehouses tend to be more efficient than logistics run out of stores, because they use fewer workers and can position goods for faster fulfillment.
algorithms  Amazon  big_bets  cold_storage  distribution_centres  distribution  e-commerce  food  FreshDirect  grocery  home-delivery  infrastructure  Kroger  logistics  perishables  retailers  software  supermarkets  Target  Wal-Mart  warehouses  fulfillment  same-day  piling_on  last_mile 
july 2018 by jerryking
Produce or Else: Wal-Mart and Kroger Get Tough With Food Suppliers on Delays
Nov. 27, 2017 | WSJ | By Annie Gasparro, Heather Haddon and Sarah Nassauer

Grocers are giving food companies a tougher mandate: Ship on time, or pay the price.
Food retailers want their suppliers to resolve the persistent problem of delayed or incomplete deliveries, which they say costs them millions of dollars a year in lost sales and overtime pay.
Retailers used to give suppliers more leeway, since any number of factors—bad weather, a surge in demand, technology malfunctions—can foil deliveries of cereal, cheese, candy and other packaged goods from warehouses scattered around the country.
But now as traditional grocers battle Amazon.com<http://Amazon.com> Inc. and other online retailers that prioritize delivery speed, as well as price-cutting discounters, more are taking a strict line with suppliers, telling them on-time deliveries will translate directly into more sales and profits.
Delayed deliveries can leave holes on store shelves. Sales of some $75 billion a year are lost because products are out of stock or unsalable for other reasons, according to the Food Marketing Institute, a trade organization. That is about 10% of annual grocery sales industry-wide at a time when sales growth is hard to come by. “It’s a massive opportunity from a financial and customer standpoint,” .....The country’s biggest grocers are leading the charge. Kroger is fining suppliers $500 for every order that is more than two days late to any of its 42 warehouses, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is charging suppliers monthly fines of 3% for deliveries that don’t arrive exactly on time, according to the retailers. They began issuing the fines in August........Wal-Mart has signaled it could do more than levy fines if problems persist. Charles Redfield, executive vice president of food for Wal-Mart U.S., told suppliers they could also lose shelf space if they don’t solve their delivery issues, according to people in attendance at a supplier meeting earlier this year. Retailers can threaten suppliers with loss of promotional space in stores, analysts said.....Packaged-goods companies are straining to keep up with the demands and remain in the good graces of retailers. They need GPS trackers and software to adjust routes in real time. Filling full orders fast is also challenging, since many manufacturers house items all over the country. That is particularly true for refrigerated items needing costly cold storage—which has fueled investments in more fulfillment centers......“Shipping complete orders on time is a completely reasonable request but turns out it’s harder than it sounds.”...
Wal-Mart  Kroger  grocery  supermarkets  supply_chains  retailers  delays  food  shipping  Amazon  cold_storage  penalties  delivery_times  fulfillment  CPG  Kraft_Heinz  P&G  on-time  shelf_space  supply_chain_squeeze 
november 2017 by jerryking
The High-Speed Trading Behind Your Amazon Purchase - WSJ
By CHRISTOPHER MIMS
Updated March 27, 2017

Beneath the placid surface of product pages lies an unseen world of bots, algorithms, flash crashes and fierce competition......Just beneath the placid surface of a typical product page on Amazon lies an unseen world, a system where third-party vendors can sell products alongside Amazon’s own goods. It’s like a stock market, complete with day traders, code-slinging quants, artificial-intelligence algorithms and, yes, flash crashes.

Amazon gave people and companies the ability to sell on Amazon.com in 2000, and it has since grown into a juggernaut, representing 49% of the goods Amazon ships. Amazon doesn’t break out numbers for the portion of its business driven by independent sellers, but that translates to tens of billions in revenue a year. Out of more than 2 million registered sellers, 100,000 each sold more than $100,000 in goods in the past year....It’s clear, after talking to sellers and the software companies that empower them, that the biggest of these vendors are growing into sophisticated retailers in their own right. The top few hundred use pricing algorithms to battle with one another for the coveted “Buy Box,” which designates the default seller of an item. It’s the Amazon equivalent of a No. 1 ranking on Google search, and a tremendous driver of sales.
fulfillment  Amazon  pricing  back-office  third-party  bots  algorithms  flash_crashes  competition  retailers  e-commerce  product_category  private_labels  stockmarkets  eBay  Wal-Mart  Jet  Christopher_Mims 
march 2017 by jerryking
Amazon, in Threat to UPS, Tries Its Own Deliveries - WSJ.com
By GREG BENSINGER And LAURA STEVENS CONNECT
Updated April 24, 2014
Amazon  logistics  UPS  supply_chains  fulfillment 
april 2014 by jerryking
The Race for Faster Delivery of Everything - Corporate Intelligence - WSJ
December 11, 2013, 7:34 PM

The Race for Faster Delivery of Everything

Article
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Tom Gara
delivery  time-based  Amazon  AmazonFresh  supply_chains  UPS  EBay  EBay_Now  shippers  perishables  logistics  delivery_times  speed  fulfillment  same-day  delivery_services  fast-paced 
december 2013 by jerryking
In War for Same-Day Delivery, Racing Madly to Go Last Mile - NYTimes.com
November 23, 2013 | NYT | By HILARY STOUT.

That personal, labor-intensive approach doesn’t translate easily into profit. “You just can’t get any hourly worker at Popeyes to do this — you need someone with a work ethic and a sense of urgency and a willingness to go out of the standard operating procedure to delight the customer,” said Sucharita Mulpuru, a retail analyst at Forrester Research. “It is an H.R. issue, not a tech issue. Many of these companies are coming at it from a tech standpoint.”
Amazon  eBay  eBay_Now  concierge_services  shippers  delivery_networks  package_delivery  instant_gratification  last_mile  distribution_channels  work_ethic  urgency  same-day  delighting_customers  hourly_workers  labor-intensive  home-delivery  fulfillment 
november 2013 by jerryking
In a Routine Business, Extra Service Pays Off - WSJ.com
December 7, 2004 | WSJ |by PAULETTE THOMAS | Special to THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
call_centres  fulfillment 
june 2012 by jerryking
6 Tips for Building a Web-Based Store - WSJ.com
DECEMBER 9, 2011 | WSJ | By TY MCMAHAN. (Send to Debbie)

Building an ecommerce platform within your company website doesn't have to be complex or expensive. A number of new services—such as such as Goodsie, Shopify, Storenvy and Weebly—now make the task easy and affordable. You can use these services to design a store, upload product, create shopping carts, manage fulfillment and more, —all for as little as a few dollars a month.

1. Invest time, and possibly money, in taking good photos.

Photography is the "dirty little secret" of e-commerce, according to Mr. Davis. "[Customers] can't touch and feel your wares, so your photography needs to be an important element."

Merchants should professionally photograph as many details of a product as they can afford.

Goodsie Chief Executive Jonathan Marcus recommends shooting each product individually, as well as while it's being worn or used by a model, in order to show how big the product is.

2. Use a voice that matches your brand.

"There's a fine line between cute and strategic," says Mr. Davis. For example, a flower shop may describe marigolds as "perfect for fall and a favorite for moms," while an electronics store may provide a more technical description of products. Merchants should also consider how their descriptions might surface in search-engine results, he adds.

3. Experiment with the layout, and mix it up.

The new services, which emerged within the past five years, provide hundreds of templates for the arrangement of products on the page, as well as a wide variety of different colors and fonts. "Change things every two to three weeks over three months and see what drives the best results," Mr. Davis says.

Goodsie's Mr. Marcus adds that stores need to be thoughtful about what products fit together on a page. For example, an apparel company may consider arranging items that make up an entire outfit.

4. Figure out the payment gateway.

This is the trickiest part of creating an online store, according to Mr. Davis. Store owners will need to set up a merchant account with a bank to link funds from the credit card company or a third-party processor like PayPal, which lets customers use its merchant account under certain terms, usually with very little setup required. PayPal does not charge a setup fee.

Currently, Weebly stores only accept Paypal or Google Checkout to process payments. Goodsie offers those services, as well as Braintree Inc. and Authorize.net, a Visa Inc. company, to accept credit card payments. Shopify offers dozens of payment options.

PayPal accepts all major credit cards with no setup or monthly fees. The service takes a 2.9% fee per transaction on monthly sales up to $3,000. The rate reduces as monthly sales increase. Google Checkout charges the same. Authorize.net charges a $100 set-up fee, a $20 monthly fee and 10 cents per transaction. Most services charge about $10 per chargeback in the event a refund is issued.

5. Try to make online shopping feel like an experience.

"Do you have the right boxes? Do you have packing foam? How do you want merchandise to be presented when your customer opens the box? Remember, that's the only one-on-one you're going to have with a customer," Mr. Davis says. He suggests offering gift wrapping and sending hand-written thank-you notes to add a more personal touch to the e-commerce experience.

Alternatively, you can outsource fulfillment. Shopify integrates with third-party fulfillment services such as Fulfillment by Amazon, Shipwire and Webgistix. The cost of this can range for tens of dollars into the thousands depending on the product and volume of shipping. Those who choose to outsource fulfillment should do several trial orders with a service before committing to a provider, Mr. Davis suggests.

6. Promote heavily.
tips  e-commerce  websites  fulfillment  third-party  Shopify  Amazon  howto  JCK 
december 2011 by jerryking

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