It seems Amazon has been covertly ramping up its delivery network in rural America, but it’s just now getting attention. Beginning last summer — or possibly earlier — the eCommerce giant started recruiting small businesses in rural areas in states like Alabama, Mississippi, and Nebraska to deliver packages in a 10-mile area.
They’re recruiting a variety of local businesses including restaurants, IT shops, and even florists to make deliveries seven days a week. As long as the businesses have a physical location to receive the packages and are willing to deliver 360 days per year, they’re eligible to sign up for the program.
Although it’s still technically a beta test, it makes sense for the company to invest in the program. Delivery times for these areas can be tricky and pose financial burdens for both Amazon and its customers.
Traditionally, the company would send packages to a UPS or USPS center for them to finish the delivery. But it looks like they’re looking to cut out these partners in favor of giving small businesses an opportunity to increase their revenue.
At the moment, the company is only recruiting existing businesses. But in the future, it could be an opportunity for individuals in these areas. Regardless, expect delivery times to drop in areas with one of these rural delivery partners.
eBay invests in Funko and becomes the preferred marketplace
eBay is currently making a big push in the collectible toys market. As part of an investment group, eBay now has a large stake in Funko. The $263 million transactions gave the eCommerce site preferred secondary market status and a partnership deal for exclusive releases.
The investment group sees the deal as a means for Funko to expand its business directly to consumers and acquire a wider range of intellectual properties. They also see the partnership as a means for Funko to move further into international markets.
Consumers are excited about the prospect of the partnership. And many hope the deal will help Funko reduce the number of fake collectibles in the eBay marketplace.
Regarding the deal, eBay Chief Business and Strategy Officer Stefanie Jay stated, “Funko sits at the intersection of pop culture, passion, and collectibles, with one of the most engaged communities of enthusiasts. Building on the incredible appetite for Funko products on eBay, we look forward to what our companies can do together.
European eCommerce fulfillment competitor to Amazon raises $56M in Series C
Startup fulfillment provider Byrd is making headlines in the eCommerce world after its Series C funding round netted $56 million. Based in Berlin, the company provides warehousing in seven European countries — though not as property owners — and proprietary logistics software for eCommerce customers.
Byrd states they’ll use the funds for network expansion and additional services to support it. They also hope to expand into apparel markets. By the end of the year, they’ll have warehouses in 10 countries with no signs of stopping.
Ultimately, the company hopes to give sellers a viable alternative to FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) even if they sell items in the Amazon marketplace.
Changes to seller central rolling out on eBay
Over this week, you may have noticed some changes on the eBay Seller Central. They’re a push from the company to update the design of the seller platform and help sellers source necessary information.
The site updates focused on making the navigation more visible and refreshing the content layout. The goal is to give more convenience to sellers in accessing the tools they use the most. It also puts the US Seller Center more in alignment with international eBay Seller Center pages.
Regarding the announcement, the company stated, “Our updated Seller Center now gives you a seamless experience from any device, whether you’re working from your office or selling on the go.”
Etsy supports Northeast Indian artisans by signing MoU
Partnering with the NEHHDC (North Eastern Handicrafts and Handloom Development Corporation, Etsy is giving support and market access to artisans in Northeast India. The company recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the corporation that will help artisans launch online businesses to sell their crafts.
The training programs will educate the artisans about the Etsy platform and how-to items on online marketplaces in general. This partnership should help to expand the markets for these artisans and create more availability for their sought-after products.
Be on the lookout for these products on the global market very soon.
IKEA makes a big investment in eCommerce
IKEA announced they’re investing 3 billion euros over the next year in a big eCommerce push. The money will go towards updating existing stores so they can act as distribution centers for the eCommerce business.
Though up a third of the money will go to stores in London, the company intends to spend the rest on stores all over the world. The idea is to update their back-end operations to create a better fulfillment network for their products.
They want to ship online purchases directly from their warehouses to increase delivery speeds and leave less of a carbon footprint. It’ll be interesting to see how this develops over the coming year.
Made.com is making moves this year and looking to expand its operations across the globe. The UK-based online furniture retailer recently acquired fellow furniture retailer Trouva, which has partnerships with over 700 brands and delivers to 34 countries.
The acquisition creates an opportunity for Made.com as they work to expand its product range and accelerate growth. The company will now be able to provide more options for its customers and higher cross-border functionality.
There are no reports of the amount of the deal. But Made.com did announce that Trouva will operate as its own brand for now.
Various dates: Amazon advertising’s global webinar program continues with 20+ webinars scheduled, covering Prime Day Preparation, Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, reporting, optimization, and other tips. Amazon.
For the US
May 19th: Walmart DSP: A Differentiated Approach to Offsite Advertising. Tinuiti
May 19: eBay Summer Seller Check-In. eBay Seller Events
For the UK
Various dates: Amazon webinars covering selling, fulfillment, SFP, advertising, and Amazon Business. Amazon.