more articles by

Michael Waters

  • SEP 17, 2021

    Amazon now ships more parcels than FedEx

    In 2020, Amazon Logistics delivered 4.2 billion parcel shipments, up from 1.9 billion in 2019. It now makes up, by volume, 21% of the parcel shipments in the U.S., behind the USPS (38%) and UPS (24%) but ahead of FedEx for the first time (16%).

  • SEP 16, 2021

    Amazon Briefing: Amazon’s newest product is customer service

    The new customer service offering comes at a moment when Amazon’s own fulfillment infrastructure appears to be under heavy strain -- and as some sellers opt to take their chances on self-fulfillment, Amazon can still maintain an extra slice of their business through Customer Service by Amazon.

  • SEP 15, 2021

    The publishing industry is bracing for a volatile end of the year

    The holiday season is usually the biggest sales period for the book business -- but in recent weeks, authors, publishers and booksellers have all begun warning that industry-wide shortages might leave some of this year’s most popular titles unavailable come December.  

  • SEP 14, 2021

    How board games are going digital

    As companies pop up to create digital tabletop games that more closely resemble their real-life counterparts, big-name board game makers like Hasbro and Asmodee are betting that their futures lie in finding ways to blend the digital and physical versions of their projects, too.

  • SEP 13, 2021

    Why grocery stores are testing drive-thru lanes

    Amazon is reportedly adding a drive-thru lane to one of its under-construction Amazon Fresh locations in Florida. Yet Amazon Fresh isn’t the only grocery chain to eye drive-thru as a possible way to speed up grocery pickup orders. Hy-Vee, Tesco and Walgreens are also on the case.

  • SEP 09, 2021

    Amazon Briefing: The B-to-B marketplace opportunity

    Amazon aggregators are beginning to turn to B-to-B sellers for growth. But in focusing on this segment, aggregators are also underscoring just how big of an opportunity B-to-B has quietly become for Amazon -- and Amazon sellers -- writ large.

  • SEP 08, 2021

    A bevy of discount European grocers are expanding into the U.S.

    European grocers are testing out U.S. expansion. Alongside successful rollouts, like Aldi and Lidl, are the failed U.S. expansions of British discounter Tesco and Russia’s X5 Retail Group. But these European chains seem to be betting that U.S. demand for small-format, discount chains will only continue to balloon in the coming years.

  • SEP 07, 2021

    Brands are tiptoeing into Discord

    A closed, decentralized ecosystem like Discord might not seem like a place for brands to flock to. But in recent months, a growing number -- including those outside of the gaming world -- have begun testing the platform. Resale site StockX debuted a Discord server in June, and brands like AllSaints, Chipotle and Jack in the Box have all hosted events and Q&As in their own Discord servers.

  • SEP 03, 2021

    For food delivery services, private label is the next battleground

    This summer, two delivery services -- GoPuff and DoorDash -- have each taken preliminary steps toward deploying private-label food products. GoPuff, for instance, launched its own line of ghost kitchens -- or food preparation hubs without storefronts attached -- from which the company plans to produce meals from existing brands as well as its own private-label recipes.

  • SEP 02, 2021

    Amazon Briefing: Tightening inventory limits continue to make sellers nervous

    In its quest to become everything to its customers and its sellers -- the company that both controls the plurality of retail sales in the U.S. and manages shipping and fulfillment for an ever-larger share of its millions of sellers -- Amazon might, in some ways, have over-promised what it can handle.

  • SEP 01, 2021

    Feeling a profit crunch, buy now pay later services bet on advertising

    As buy now pay later services achieve ubiquity across e-commerce, they are looking to advertising as a new revenue stream. Last week, Afterpay announced the launch of its in-house ad network, which it is calling Afterpay Ads. . For these companies, advertising is a way to earn back their losses elsewhere -- and convince retailers to pay more for their services.

  • AUG 31, 2021

    Fintech startups are targeting influencers trying to launch their own brands

    Bank loans are difficult to get for untested business owners, and credit limits can make buying inventory difficult especially for smaller creators. In their place, a nascent group of fintech startups like Spotter, Karat Financial, Willa and XPO are popping up to give middle-tier influencers money and access to credit in order to build their brands.

  • AUG 30, 2021

    Why Walmart’s B-to-B services are a tough sell to retailers

    Walmart is trying to launch a series of back-end services for retailers. But convincing retailers to trust a company as powerful as Walmart with their data remains a challenge -- as does building the sales infrastructure to sell B-to-B services and software to other retailers.

  • AUG 27, 2021

    How Walmart’s new DSP aims to take on Amazon

    A soon-to-launch demand side advertising platform allows Walmart to use the first-party data it has already amassed on U.S. shoppers in order to reach them across the web. With it, Walmart is able to give brands granular data about each shopper even when they aren’t on the Walmart platform, a fact that also lets brands re-target customers who might have viewed their product but didn’t make a purchase.

  • AUG 26, 2021

    Amazon Briefing: The great physical retail pivot

    Amazon’s department store plan, if it does come to fruition, underscores something else: Amazon, which until recently was a purely e-commerce operation, has ramped up its investment in physical retail stores over the past three years. In addition to department stores, it’s in the process of building close to 40 Fresh grocery stores in the near future, which add to its total of 30 Go convenience stores and 24 Amazon Books stores.

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