The Webretailer News May 27, 2022
Amazon testing delivery from malls with independent drivers
Malls and gig delivery drivers are about to get support from one of the largest retailers in the world. Amazon is currently testing a delivery program using Amazon Flex drivers to relay packages to customers from retailers inside malls. If the company fully adopts the program, it will enhance its fast delivery service and increase its inventory selection.
What does this mean? When a shopper orders an item with same-day shipping, a driver will go to the mall to pick it up directly from the retailer’s shelf instead of an Amazon delivery station.
At the moment, the cost, driving range, and which retailers are taking part is unclear. But according to Bloomberg, drivers in Arizona, Nevada, and Virginia confirmed taking part in the program.
Regarding the program, Amazon spokesperson Lauren Samaha stated, “This is just another way we are able to connect Amazon sellers with customers via convenient delivery options.”
The news isn’t exactly a surprise, as we recently reported that Amazon is recruiting small businesses for ‘last mile deliveries in rural communities. Amid falling eCommerce numbers, the company is focusing on expanding its network of quality, fast fulfillment.
Regardless, these programs are sure to heat up the competition between retailers and gig economy companies like DoorDash and Instacart looking to be the point-person for online order deliveries.
eBay to collaborate and allow sale of NFTs
Although eBay has a lot of restrictions regarding digital goods and downloads, they’re making a push in the non-fungible token (NFT) space. This week, the company announced an exclusive agreement with NFT creator OneOf.
The company is launching an NFT collection called ‘Genesis’ that features animated and 3D renderings of Sports Illustrated covers. The deal acts as an extension of OneOf’s previous agreement with the magazine, and the first collection features Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky.
Regarding the announcement, eBay Vice President of Collectibles, Electronics and Home, Dawn Block stated, “NFTs and blockchain technology are revolutionizing the collectibles space, and are increasingly viewed as a massive opportunity for enthusiasts. Through our partnership with OneOf, eBay is now making coveted NFTs more accessible to a new generation of collectors everywhere.”
OneOf will release additional sports collections through the rest of the year.
Etsy updates categories
Etsy sellers may have noticed some category updates from the platform this month. Three categories now have additional sub-categories to help sellers capitalize on their specific niches. It’s the first time the company has updated its categories since February.
The updates include:
- Bedspreads, desk nameplates, and mug rugs are now in the Home & Living category.
- Multiple categories were added to Craft Machine Files, including Knitting Machine Files, Cutting Machine Files, 3D Printer Files, and Embroidery Machine Files.
- Toe guards and skate leashes are under the Roller Skate Accessories category.
Any listings relevant to the changes will automatically move into their new category.
Single-use plastic is out on eBay UK
Effective June 1, 2022, single-use plastic items will no longer be available through eBay’s UK marketplace. This includes any plastic cutlery, straws, plates, food containers, and cups — including lids.
The company announced they’re implementing the ban to comply with Scottish law. But with England’s exit from the EU, sellers outside Scotland technically don’t have to comply.
That’s left some UK sellers asking why the company is implementing this policy when they’re not selling to or from Scotland. Regardless, it seems a full ban in the UK on single-use plastic may come to the UK soon, so perhaps eBay is just staying ahead of the curve.
Amazon subleasing warehouses amid eCommerce slowdown
According to an article released by Bloomberg this week, Amazon is looking to sublet at least 10 million square feet of warehouse space with the potential for more soon.
Company insiders told Bloomberg the square footage total could be double or even triple the initial estimate. And the leasing list includes warehouses in Southern California, New Jersey, New York, and Atlanta.
Overall, the company doesn’t seem too concerned about the situation. An Amazon spokesperson explained that subleasing is common practice for the company, along with many other large companies.
10 million square feet is equal to 12 Amazon fulfillment centers and is only 5% of the total square footage the retail giant added through the pandemic. And with the company offering one to two-year terms on the leases, it seems they’re just adjusting to the current economic situation.
Investors put €40 million into Budbee
If you want investors to pay attention, then try doubling your revenue in a year. That’s what last-mile delivery scale-up Budbee did in 2021. And it just netted them 40 million euros in a recent funding round.
With their total valuation now at €700 million, the company plans to use the money to expand its parcel locker network. With over 5,000 lockers in circulation already, they’ll be on their way to catching competitor SwipBox which has 10,000 lockers.
Budbee specializes in both parcel lockers and same-day/next-day delivery — fossil-free. The Swedish company has operations in the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, and Finland.
Spanish logistics startup Kubbo expands to Italy
In a move to compete with operators in Italy, Kubbo announced its shift into the international market. The Spanish company intends to expand its current eCommerce logistics model and launch in Italy.
The move makes sense as the Italian online shopping market has boomed through the pandemic and beyond. Breaking into the market, the company will transfer its fulfillment service model that includes everything from storage to same-day delivery.
Kubbo CEO Eric Daniel said, “In Spain, we are the only logistics partner that prepares the order, ships it, and delivers it to the buyer’s home on the same day it is ordered.” The company truly believes in the power of same-day shipping as they put out a study showing that companies can sell up to 63% more units per order if they offer the service.
The company will begin its Italian operations near Milan with a 25,000 square meter logistics center.