Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Amazon Lockers Coming to Staples

According to Reuters, Staples Inc, the largest U.S. office supply retailer, will be installing "Amazon Lockers" in its U.S. stores, a Staples spokeswoman said Monday.

The Amazon lockers will allow online shoppers to have packages sent to the office supply chain's stores. Amazon already has such storage units at grocery, convenience and drug stores, many of which stay open around the clock.

Amazon notifies customers of the delivery drop-off via email with a pickup code, which is entered on a touchscreen on the locker to retrieve the package. Shoppers have three days from delivery date to pick up the package.

Amazon pays "a small fee" (not disclosed) to the owners of the stores that house its lockers.

We have covered Amazon lockers before: 

Amazon UK and the Olympics

Amazon's Same-Day Delivery Strategy

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Pitney Bowes As Int'l Shipper

Pitney Bowes is expanding its business services way beyond postage and postage meters to offer international shipping for online retailers selling to international customers.

According to Pitney Bowes vice president of global e-commerce, Craig Reed, “A lot of merchants are seeing growth in domestic e-commerce, but for many of them getting to the next big level of growth means they need to look at international markets, We ... want to be ... a household name in global e-commerce.”

Pitney Bowes’s shipping services provides a Website shipping calculator to let eTailers show international customers the full “landed” costs of items they are considering via a Web Services interface to PB’s databases of international tariffs and other information.  Combined with SKU data on each product in a retailer’s online product catalog, PB calculates the full delivery cost to a customer’s destination using technology acquired from the ClearPath technology unit of Canada Post Borderfree. (According to Internet Retailer, Canada Post sold the remaining assets of Borderfree, which provides international shipping services from Canada, in March to FiftyOne Global Ecommerce, a competitor to Pitney Bowes.)

Pitney guarantees the final delivery rate presented to consumers.

To process an order from a foreign customer, the merchant ships the carton to one of two Pitney Bowes shipping facilities near international airports in Cincinnati and Newark, NJ. PB then  aggregates all shipments and reloads them on international carriers: to Canada generally via tractor trailers, to other countries via commercial or cargo airlines. Finally, PB arranges for local deliveries in the destination country.

Pitney Bowes began this type of operation in 2004 to provide eBay e-marketplace sellers an international postage printing service. According to Internet Retailer, Pitney plans to build a stronger presence in serving eCommerce companies shipping between Europe and Asia-Pacific.

It would appear that Pitney Bowes harbors ambitions of becoming a competitor with the likes of DHL as an international express carrier. DHL has a very well done interactive International Capabilities world map. It's worth a look. Give it a whirl!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

National Sales & Use Tax Could Be a Mess

Multichannel Merchant magazine published a good overview of the "mess" that “The Main Street Fairness Act”or other nationwide sales and use tax would create because so much of what any of the several Federal bills under consideration would impose is at odds with state-level sales and use tax methods and procedures. Much food for thought in this very good short piece.
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