FedEx’s Breakup with Amazon Draws Battle Lines in the Fight for Shipping - Kuebix TMS

FedEx’s Breakup with Amazon Draws Battle Lines in the Fight for Shipping

FedEx is breaking up with Amazon as the e-commerce giant continues to make waves in the shipping industry. The carrier announced that it will choose not to renew its ground freight contract with Amazon for any final mile delivery, effective September 2019. This comes only 2 months after FedEx announced that it would end Express air shipments with the e-commerce company. Amazon made up roughly 1.3% of FedEx’s total sales in 2018.

According to spokespeople from both companies, the breakup is amicable, an Amazon operations executive even tweeting “we wish them nothing but the best, conscious uncoupling at its finest.” But this conscious uncoupling goes deeper than a simple business incompatibility.

Here’s what you need to know about why FedEx and Amazon have officially parted ways.


Amazon’s Bid to Transform the Shipping Industry

It’s no secret that Amazon has ushered in an era or super-fast, super-convenient online shopping. The company has become the #1 e-commerce platform, bringing in close to $232 billion U.S. dollars in 2018 net sales. By promising Prime members free, 2-day shipping on thousands of items, Amazon has built consumer loyalty and changed the way shoppers think about shipping. Customer expectations have changed and 2-day, or even faster, delivery is now expected. In fact, Amazon plans to make 1-day delivery standard for Prime members in 2020.

Amazon

In order to meet these pie-in-the-sky delivery promises, Amazon has decided that a ‘go-it-alone’ strategy is needed for their logistics operations. Instead of solely relying on established parcel carriers like FedEx, UPS, or the United States Postal Service (USPS), the company is increasingly developing their own shipping networks. This includes building out their own fleet to fulfill final mile deliveries. Most recently, Amazon announced that they will pay their employees $10,000 and 3 months’ pay to quit and start their own Amazon delivery service.

In addition to expanding their ground fleet operations, Amazon has also added hundreds of fulfilment centers to its logistics network, announced its groundbreaking drone delivery program, and added next-day air capacity with leased jets. It’s not surprising that FedEx feels the need to distance itself from a company that appears to be stepping into their territory. The company is taking short-term pain over the possibility of continuing a potentially damaging relationship long-term.

FedEx Bets On Wal-Mart and Other E-Commerce Businesses

Amazon officially surpassed Wal-Mart as the world’s largest retailer earlier in 2019. That isn’t to say that Wal-Mart doesn’t pose a threat to Amazon’s monopoly in the e-commerce world. Wal-Mart has some 2.2 million workers, a number roughly 4 times the number Amazon employs. It also already owns a vast amount of real estate, strategically dispersed across the USA. Not to mention that Wal-Mart owns one of the largest private fleets in America. By building upon this base, Wal-Mart has ramped up efforts to compete with Amazon in the e-commerce sector. This includes plans to roll out a 1-day delivery program that shoppers can take advantage of without any membership fees.

Parcel and E-commerce

FedEx appears to be betting on Wal-Mart as Amazon’s primary rival in the fast and free online shopping industry. According to the founder of SJ Consulting Group, a company providing data and advice to logistics companies, the decision to sever ties with Amazon is a way for FedEx to “get Walmart to realize that they’re not working with Walmart’s biggest competitor and to have Walmart make FedEx their primary carrier.

To make up for the short-term loss of 1.3% of their business, FedEx also announced in May that they would begin seven-day ground freight services at the beginning of 2020. This move will likely make them an even more desirable carrier for companies like Wal-Mart, Walgreens, and other retailers in the e-commerce space.

The Future of Final Mile

The breakup of Amazon and FedEx is just another example of the battle lines being drawn between Amazon and the rest of the retail industry. As companies seek to differentiate themselves from the e-commerce behemoth, changes as small as choosing a different carrier can be important. FedEx appears to already be taking steps to compete against Amazon’s 2-day and 1-day delivery promise. The future of final mile delivery is still uncertain, but the main competitors are just now entering the ring.

Amazon

Amazon Prime Day 2019 – ‘Christmas in July’ for E-Commerce

Today marks the start of the fifth-annual Amazon Prime Day – a 48-hour marathon of discounts on a wide array of products offered exclusively to Amazon Prime members. Since the first installation of the unofficial holiday in 2015, Amazon has extended the event through products launched exclusively at the start of the sale and $10 to spend on Prime Day for any members who spend $10 at Whole Foods within a certain period beforehand.

2018 Amazon Prime Day sales are estimated to have hit $4.19 billion, increasing nearly 74% in comparison to 2017’s sales of $2.41 billion. With this year’s event scheduled to run for a full 48 hours in comparison to 2018’s lasting for 36 hours, sales are expected to continue to trend upward.

Participating in Amazon Prime Day

For brands utilizing the promotional frenzy, having a successful Amazon Prime Day is far more complicated than discounting a product and crossing their fingers. The first (and arguably most important) key to success is accepting and aligning yourself with the focus on Prime-eligible products. Most shoppers prefer and seek these products out, so shipping inventory to ‘FBA’ (fulfilled by Amazon) locations ahead of time is crucial. Preparing supply chains well ahead of time is necessary for many e-tailers to be successful during this important event. Brands are also encouraged to use Amazon’s discount coupons, a self-serve feature that can be set up by any vendor or seller on Amazon.

However, driving sales isn’t the only way to take advantage of Amazon Prime Day. Many brands use this day as an opportunity to increase awareness about what they have to offer and also test how their audience will receive products they are considering launching. Products that have consumers leaving rave reviews and purchasing backups make them all the more likely to remain popular once the sale is over. Consumers will also be more willing to try new products since a discounted price makes buyers more comfortable because there’s less financial risk attached with the possibility of disliking the product.

Competition

As the popularity and overall awareness about this event grows, more and more retailers are stepping up to the plate and offering their own discounts in an attempt to compete. RetailMeNot estimates that in 2019, 250 retailers will take part in the unofficial holiday by offering discounts of their own. This is a significant increase from 2018’s 194 retailers, which can be attributed to the steady incline of consumer engagement and timeline of the event.

Walmart is offering deals for a longer period of time than Amazon Prime Day in an attempt to compete, while Target is echoing the exact dates and placing a heavy emphasis on the fact that there’s no membership required to participate in their biggest summer sale.

It’s clear that whether you are a vendor, Prime member, or regular customer, opportunity is about to pour in from every direction. Gear up and get ready – ‘Christmas in July’ is officially upon us!

Prime Air Drones Kuebix

Amazon is Taking Prime to New Heights With Amazon Prime Air

With the extreme ease and convenience free 2-day shipping gives customers, Amazon is already changing the world. Many retail stores, such as Toys ‘R’ Us and Payless Shoe Source, have lost market share to Amazon, eventually leading to store closures. There is a very high demand for customers who want their packages delivered to them as soon as possible.

Now Amazon believes that they have found a new approach to provide even faster shipping – one that would allow customers to receive their packages within as little as 30 minutes! The concept of Amazon Prime Air was introduced to meet this need. Amazon Prime Air is an electric drone program that will drop small packages directly to customers’ doorsteps.

How Does Amazon Prime Air Work?

According to Amazon, safety is their priority. They wanted to ensure that the design of the drone would include stability and efficiency, so they created a hybrid design which would allow the drone to depart vertically and transition to airplane mode once in the air.

Amazon also claims that the drone is stable in windy conditions due to its six degrees of freedom, which Techopedia defines as “the specific number of axes that a rigid body is able to freely move in three-dimensional space.” The drone is able to fly up to 15 miles with an altitude of about 400 feet, using advanced sensors and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to navigate through static and moving objects that can interfere. The drone can only deliver shipments under 5 pounds, but this isn’t a problem for the e-commerce giant which claims that 75-90% of the items it sells meet these criteria. This makes a very fast and convenient delivery option for customers who need their shipments in a pinch!

How Will Prime Air Affect the Transportation Industry?

The transportation industry currently involves plenty of physical labor such as actually driving on the road and loading/unloading shipments. Cars and trucks in transit to ship products require money being paid for the gas, money to the drivers, and wear and tear on the vehicle. That doesn’t even include the risk of damage in cases of accidents! Technology within the Amazon Prime Air drones makes them completely reliable for safe delivery of shipments. Since the drones specifically handle smaller packages, trucks and cars are still needed for bigger shipments. However, this new technology would save a lot of time and money that could be wasted from empty backhauls or trucks traveling partially empty. The supply chain of products would be less costly, more efficient and customers’ growing expectations around the speed of delivery would be met. Drones are also more fuel efficient since they are electrically charged.

So What Happens Next?

It is no question that technology is advancing very rapidly. The market for drones will be worth an estimated $127 billion by the year 2020, meaning that many businesses may be in jeopardy if they don’t compete with Amazon’s fast delivery times. If customers are able to receive their shipments within half an hour by using Amazon Prime Air, it will likely be a major hit with consumers throughout the entire world! Amazon claims that the Prime Air program will launch before the end of 2019, so the transportation industry could go through a drastic change very soon. So next time you purchase an item from Amazon, there could be a drone showing up to your doorstep!

Amazon Prime 1 Day Shipping Kuebix

What Amazon’s One-Day Delivery Promise Means for Supply Chains

Amazon is once again raising the bar for speed of delivery with its announcement that the company’s new goal is to make 1-day delivery standard for Prime customers. Amazon’s 2-day free shipping guarantee has already had huge implications on supply chains, so much in fact that the term the “Amazon Effect” was coined just to describe it.

The Amazon Effect is a trend where customers expect incredibly fast delivery, full visibility to tracking information, and great customer service because of the experience they get with Amazon Prime deliveries regularly. Customer expectations have increased because Amazon has proven it’s possible to deliver products in just 2 days, and to do it for free.

How Does Amazon Plan to Make 1-Day Delivery a Reality?

Amazon has laid out an aggressive strategy to make their 1-day standard delivery promise a reality. The company has announced that they will be greatly expanding their Delivery Service Partner program by incentivizing current employees to open their own package delivery businesses. Current employees will be offered $10,000 and three month’s pay to open their own delivery business, greatly reducing the risk and difficulties associated with staring a new company.

By removing many of the barriers to entry, Amazon hopes to expand the number of available trucks to deliver final mile packages across the country. With more available capacity to hand, Amazon will be able to get products to end customers faster. According to Amazon, entrepreneurs who take advantage of this new incentive program will have access to logistics technology, insurance, and support to be successful. Delivery partners who expand their fleets to 40 vehicles can earn as much as $300,000 in annual profits.

As Amazon increasingly replaces human labor in their warehouses with technology, this is also a strategy to move employees into new, fruitful positions with upward mobility. Many employees who may find their jobs in jeopardy of being replaced by robots can make the switch now to being delivery partners. Amazon is not only encouraging current employees to begin final mile shipping operations; the company will also be reimbursing military veterans up to $10,000 to start their own programs.

What Does This Mean For Companies With Their Own Supply Chains?

Customer expectations are about to rise again. Companies with freight to ship will need to work even harder to deliver superior customer experiences without going into the red. Every business will need to emphasise fast shipping and complete shipping visibility in order to compete with the outstanding service Amazon provides its customers.

What Can Companies Do to Keep Up With Increasing Customer Expectations?

Companies need to leverage network-based technology like Kuebix TMS to optimize their supply chains and connect to the greatest number of opportunities to collaborate with other businesses.

It isn’t feasible for most companies to create their own extensive private fleets like Amazon is doing with its Delivery Service Partner program. Instead, businesses need to connect with capacity already available in the industry to find opportunities to cut back on costs and improve speed of delivery.

Programs like Kuebix Community Load Match help shippers quickly and easily connect to a vast ecosystem of dedicated truckload carriers. Through Community Load Match, shippers can receive spot quotes and book loads without needing to pick up the phone.

Amazon is expanding their network by incentivizing employees to create delivery services. Other shippers can expand their networks by leveraging Kuebix to access new, valuable sources of capacity alongside their negotiated carrier rates.