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EngageSmart’s 40% rise in trading debut reflects the high demand for business payments solutions

For the CEO of EngageSmart, Bob Bennett, it is more about “getting to nirvana”. It represents the mark when a company gets 100% automated billion and 100% auto-payment of bills. In other words, it speaks of automation of Business payments solutions.

While that target may be more aspirational than attainable in reality, Bennett said that the actual tallies for this company are showing much success. At least 70000 customers are getting much closer to nirvana.

“[EngageSmart] is almost always replacing something else, but we [are] there because we drive adoption and get our customers to that nirvana state twice as fast as anybody else can,” Bennett minutes as his company’s shares had just started trading $10 above their $26 initial public offering (IPO) price. “So, our prospects see this because we have the numbers, and then they say, “OK if I’m going to make a change, I’m willing to go through some pain'” to get to a better place. It marks clearly that the company’s CEO is quite hopeful about Business payments solutions.

On paper, EngageSmart offers its customer engagement software with an integrated payment solution. It has the integration of five verticals, government, utility, health and wellness, financial services, and giving. Each of these verticals has the design to add simplification to the user engagement with their clients. It can drive more digital adoption with self-service.

Digitalization of Business payments solutions has been a tailwind for those who are more in the payments business. It is quite inefficient to write paper checks and to receive paper bills. It caters to more work than needed.

Within its growing base of customers, this software company worth $5 billion served more than 68000s of SMBs and more than 3000 enterprise clients.

With its enterprise solution, the company is replacing an existing electric bill per the statement of the customers with its Business payments solutions. But within its SMB solutions client base, 60% of those customers are coming from pen, paper, and spreadsheets. They have no significant practice for software management. Many of them have electronic payment capabilities.

Hence there is a lot of greenfield in the segment. Bennett further noted that for a company, any of the six that send bills out is more efficient to move its digital transactions.

To renew policyholders, the company must send a lot of mail. But customers forget to renew it each year. This is one of the reasons why customers do not pay bills. The company takes away this problem with the offering of friendly email reminders during its billing cycle with its Business payments solutions. It is giving its customers the ability to enroll themselves in paperless billing and seamless auto payments.

The company is driving to digital self-service. The solutions also eliminate the phone calls where the bill is received. Customers can see their balance instantly through the customer portal.

Stitch Fix on its way to pivot sale of more clothes directly to the customer

Stitch Fix has debuted as a new way for shopped to buy clothes. This online styling service is working on marketing a new way of shopping to its customers in the coming year.

Chief Executive Elizabeth Spaulding said that it would take time for the customers to know what is waiting for them out there.

Stitch Fix is popular for its subscription offering. It sends its customers bundles of hand-picked apparel and accessories. The AI of the company guides the selection. It is now extending its direct-buy option with the name “Freestyle”.

“We are going to be launching many new features, more brands, and personalized stores,” Spaulding said. “We want to give ourselves time to make this big transition into becoming the destination for personalized shopping and styling.”

The stocks of Stitch Fix closed on Wednesday, a mark which is up more than 15% at $41.01. It had fallen at almost 30% year to date.

Investors have an eye behind the upbeat fiscal fourth-quarter results of Stitch Fix that were released after the market closed Tuesday. But many are looking forward to the future potential of the business. Spaulding is leading Stitch Fix in a new direction with a larger market opportunity.

She said that she is expecting this change to help Stitch Fix grow further in its addressable market. Previously the customer had to be a subscriber to purchase clothing or shows from the website. Now Direct-buy will be available to the public.

She also said that Stitch Fix would have to invest in advertising “Freestyle” to a large audience who might have resisted a sign-up earlier. The hope is that the direct-buy sales will boost up its profitability in the long term.

The company further said that “Freestyle” is boosting the amount of money that the active clients of Stitch Fix spend on average. In the latest quarter, it topped $500 for the first time.

Stitch Fix now counts a near about 4.2 million active clients who are people who have either ordered the subscription or have bought items directly from the website in the last 52 weeks.

Most of the analysts are remaining cautious. Spaulding is steering Stitch Fix away from its previous model. Even though there was a relatively low expectation, the company delivered a better fourth-quarter fiscal model.

Stitch Fix is anticipating its revenue growth in the Fiscal year 2022. Boruchow noted that the multi-year average of the company is more than 20% YoY increased, although it has stepped up investments in marketing. But the online apparel dynamics are stronger than this.

JPMorgan Analyst Cory Carpenter said they have faith in “Freestyle,” which had been highly successful with its editing clients. Now it is facing a more meaningful test in its ability to drive new customers. Cory thinks the company’s profit needs to have sustainability to turn the corner in the following multiple years of compression. JP Morgan has a neutral rating on the stare of Stitch Fix with a price target worth$45.

FedEx hit with $450M YoY for increased labor and transportation cost

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In its first-quarter earnings report, FedEx has shown its operating results. It has negatively impacted the higher operating expenses. It happened due to the air network impact of the pandemic and staffing challenges.

The results are also suffering from a decline in the US average daily freight pounds due to the surge in charter flights in the previous year.

FedEx has reported $19.3 billion in revenue for 2021. It has further reported $22 billion in revenue for 2022.

In addition to this, the operating income was at the mark of$1.59 billion as per the reports of 2021. It will be 1.4 billion by 2022.

“The execution of our strategies continues to drive higher demand for our services, despite the disruptive impact of the pandemic on labor availability and global supply chains,” said Frederick W. Smith, FedEx Corp. chairman and chief executive officer.

The earnings report keeps saying that staffing was a major issue. It negatively affects the year-over-year results at around $320 million. The operating results have impacted the higher costs relating to the expansion.

However, these costs of FedEx are partially offset with the higher revenue per package. The commercial packages are seeing more growth.

FedEx has cut down its earnings outlook from its lower first-quarter results. The conditions during the first quarter, such as the pandemic, were much more challenging than expected. It may last even longer.

FedEx has revised its expectations for the earning per share. Michael C. Lenz, FedEx Corp. executive vice president and chief financial officer, said that the results for the first quarter reflected a higher level of operating cost. They have incurred the cost during the uncertain and much challenging operating environment.

He further added, “While we expect these conditions to continue near-term, we expect a gradual improvement in labor availability combined with our proactive revenue management actions to mitigate the ongoing impact of these headwinds on our results and position us for earnings growth in fiscal 2022.”

FedEx has recently partnered with Salesforce on its new initiative for its fast shipping to meet its customer demand. It is giving Salesforce merchants the quick shopping feature and various other solutions like eyes drop off, label-less returns, etc.

Peloton introduces B2B platform for hospitality industry

Peloton has recently created its B2B platform to let its hospitality customers buy connected fitness equipment. Also, it will let the customers buy Precor products online. The effort is seeing an exercise company that involves moving beyond the home.

The company is also seeing demand from customers who are staying indoors due to the pandemic. As the world is attempting to reopen, the company wants to attract other types of buyers.

“This is a B2B play for us,” Brad Olson, Peloton Chief Business Officer, told regarding its B2B platform. “We’ve been selling Peloton bikes into hotels and resorts for years. … But this is the culmination and one of the big elements of the deal rationale of why we purchased Precor.”

Peloton bought Precor in April at the worth of $420 million. This deal has offered Peloton more capacity for manufacturing in the US.

At the same time, it has offered the B2B platform creator to have access to treadmills, ellipticals, cycles, rowers, and many other types of equipment for strength trading from Precor. These usually come in need for the commercial setting of gyms, universities, and hotels.

Peloton also plans to work with the hotels to offer various exercise cycles for indoor purposes, as the report says. Olson said that having biked in such kinds of rooms can offer more awareness of the Peloton on an overall scale.

The fourth-quarter earnings of the B2B platform creator shows the rocketing up subscription of the company. It is reaching the level of success with 114% surging, which is numbering 2.33 million.

On the other hand, other headline numbers include paid digital subscription growth with 176% to 874000 with total growth of membership by 5.9 million.

The company has boosted its workout jump to the mark of 75% yeast over year. This B2B platform creator has reached 134.3 million with the 19.9 monthly average workouts per connected fitness subscription. It ended up with a boost from 24.7 in the previous year.

The total revenue of Peloton has grown up to 54% year over year to $9367 million. Peloton has also announced that it is expanding to the video game industry.

This B2B platform creator will come up with a game, “Lanebreak,” in which the users can easily change their cadence and meet up their aims.

Synder’s take on boosting e-commerce sales by deploying accounting automation

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Have you ever thought about accounting as not just a regular operation but a powerful tool that tracks your business health? Learn more about this process in detail! Polly from Synder will share the pitfalls of accounting and the loopholes that can simplify and enhance your workflow. She will highlight the main pain points of every business owner — reconciliation and correct P&L’s. In case you don’t have a clear picture of how to ease these processes, this video will be really helpful!

About Polly:

Polly is a Customer Success Expert at Synder specializing in accounting automation. She helps e-commerce business owners to simplify accounting workflow and save loads of time. Her expertise allows businesses to dominate their numbers and boost their growth. Together with her team, she creates the backbone of the whole company. 

About the company:

Synder is a fin-tech company backed by Y Combinator and has more than 5 years of experience in the market. During this time, the company has developed several applications for solving the main accounting problems. Synder’s mission is to help e-commerce business owners and accounting professionals evaluate their business health and successfully get through the tax season. With Synder, you can have a clearer view of  finances for informed decision-making and free your hands and brain for business growth ideas and tasks. It’s a powerful business tool that automates a significant part of finance management and provides more accurate and fast accounting for your business. To learn more, check the website https://synder.me/eCommerceNext 

PayPal-powered payment services of Adobe Commerce to roll out soon

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Adobe is now working on adding its payment services to Adobe Commerce. This move of the company will allow its merchants to avoid the requirement for third-party payment service integration.

The PayPal Commerce Platform-powered services will become available to Adobe merchants in the US in the fourth quarter of this year.

This announcement came to the surface with a press release. While talking about the release of Adobe Commerce, the company said that its service will be available in countries like Australia, Western Europe, and Canada in 2022.

“In today’s fast-moving digital economy, organizations demand flexibility and extensibility in their commerce platform to sustain business growth and deliver seamless experiences for their customers,” said Adobe Vice President of Experience Cloud Product and Strategy Amit Ahuja in the release.

While talking about Adobe Commerce, he further said, “With the addition of payment services, we’re thrilled to expand on our already robust out-of-the-box commerce feature set to help Adobe Commerce merchants compete effectively and win in the digital-first economy.”

Adobe payment service will enable merchants to accept payment methods with credit cards, debit cards, Venmo, and PayPal. It will also offer the merchants to use the buy now, pay later option of PayPal.

According to the Adobe Digital Economy Index, the use of BNPL has grown up to 88% between 2019 and in the first half of this year. Hence it will work as a very us full payment option on Adobe Commerce.

Sezzle CEO Charlie Youakim said this week that BNPL could benefit both the merchants and customers with its ease of payment.

With this payment method, merchants can easily generate sales that they might have missed otherwise. Many customers will decide not to purchase even if they have the money simply because they want to stay within a budget. Hence the company does not want to let the customers of Adobe Commerce miss any chances to enjoy a good experience.

Youakim said that having a BNPL option will help the customers to allow the small to medium-sized businesses to criticize the debit card.

He further added that customers transacting on the debit card have a limited cost. They are less likely to spend overall as they will think about the budget. But if one can creditize the debit card with BNPL products, then the company can close that sale today. Hence adding BNPL to Adobe Commerce has a great suite of advantages both for the sellers and buyers.

Grocery delivery service Buyk announce NYC launch

Grocery delivery service Buyk – a 15-minute service is all set to launch its NY city launch in August. The Russian grocery delivery service Samokat has created this service. Now they have come up with the announcement on Tuesday.

Since its inception in Manhattan, this company aims to reach out to all five boroughs by the end of 2021. It will further expand to additional US cities in 2022. In June, the company has announced a seed funding round worth $46 million.

“Three things are central to the Buyk business model: hyper locality, execution and, of course, our proprietary technology,” CEO and Co-founder of Grocery delivery service Buyk, Slava Bocharov, said in a statement. “With this tech, we can assemble the ideal assortment for each area down to the finest detail, we can optimize picking strategies to ensure your order leaves the dark store almost as soon as you’ve put your smartphone down, and we can study the best routes to shave vital minutes off delivery to ensure your order arrives when you need it.”

The online grocery space has been seeing a huge surge in growth in its competitive ground since the starting of a pandemic. On this metric, many of the services are competition to reach out to a large group of audiences.

The promise of 2-hour delivery from a Grocery delivery service is now seeing a raised bar to another level to impress the audiences. Instacart has already worked on its 30-minute fulfillment services. Most recently, it has partnered with Kroger on a delivery facility with half-hour convenience.

A range of grocers is utilizing a system somewhat similar to Grocery delivery service Buyk. The Grocery delivery service facilities are using a network of dark stories that supply a micro-mobility fleet. They are emerging with the promise to fulfill services within 10-15 minutes.

Since March 2020, the online grocery delivery service facilities have picked up the pace. However, most consumers are still limited to their shopping in stores or pickup orders. Data shows that 235 of the grocery shoppers are making online purchases to have home delivery for their products.

Those who are using Grocery delivery service facility options have speed and convenience in their mind. The survey has also found that at least more than three-q quarters of the grocery shoppers focus on the ease of shopping as a factor. 57%say that they choose the channel as it is faster.

Though the covid pandemic has given rise to the low adoption rate, there is much room to go forward for the Grocery delivery service facilities.

“I think back, pre-COVID, nobody woke up in the morning and said, ‘Oh, you know what I need? I need a new grocery solution,'” Bentley Hall, CEO of Bay Area grocery and meal kit delivery company Good Eggs, said in an interview with PYMNTS. “And in many ways, the pandemic forced or required everybody to ask that question. I don’t think that’s going to change — I think that question will be asked more and more frequently.”

Moreover, this trend extends beyond the category of grocery. The food eCommerce business and Grocery delivery service facility are harnessing the data that the recent boom is offering, creating experiences. These experiences focus on addressing the news and preferences of the consumers who are leading to the innovation of the platform.

Digitization of cash application process can reduce supplier DSOs up to 30%

The past year and a half have not experienced any kind of shortages in the technological transformations. Companies are increasingly adopting the process to make their accounts receivable through the digitization of cash applications.

Tim Stahl, the senior vice president of Vers pay, said that digitization of cash applications works as the key component for the cash workflow. It can decrease the days sold outstanding for the supplier up to 30%. It can help to eliminate short payments. In return, it helps revenues to get converted into cash in the coffers of a company. It frees up the finance teams to work on more strategic and impactful work.

Platforms that offer from Versapay allow its suppliers to start with the digital invoice. It further maintains a digital follow-up on the payments. At the same time, it sidesteps the paper checks, stamps, and envelopes. Suppliers can also see whether their customer has opened the email and interacted with invoices or not. They can also analyze, normalize and import all the unstructured data. Digitization of cash applications makes things easier.

Best practices are those when the AR process for a supplier and the AP process for the customer gets synthesized in one process. Here each of them can see what is going on both sides of the transaction. They can also participate collaboratively in the process.

By that time, there has been a decreasing reliance on paper checking and paper invoice in the form of payment. Though the transactions may get streamlined, reconciling them at the back office is challenging. But the digitization of cash applications can make things simpler.

AR management works as a contact flow for discrete tasks. Here each of the steps depends on its predecessors for creating a continuum to take incoming payments and then match them in the back office for the correct accounts. To operate in an optimal form, companies must retool their entrenched processes.

“There has always been tension in the fact that payments get deposited somewhere, and the details of those deposits come in another form” of communication, said Stahl on cash application.

The traditional methodology says that suppliers send a paper invoice and buyers send checks. Then the remittance paperwork starts taking place with a list of what needs to be paid. In case something does not match, the phone calls would start.

Hence if you are chasing your customer around, then you can go into your ERP system and relieve all the open invoices. The short payments might result, and then the finance team will need to open up for the investigations to find out what is missing and why which is another advantage of digitized cash application.

Hence he further noted that there are other changing power dynamics between the buyers and suppliers. It is getting deducted from the payments themselves. Suppliers who sell much larger customers can find payment terms getting dictated to them.

“Depending on what technologies you put between you and your customer, you can have lots of information you can’t have in an analog process, where paper is flying back and forth,” Stahl said on the digitization of cash application.

Brazil’s ‘Cash is King’ culture makes space for convenient QR Code, Gift Cards

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Cash is still the king in the largest economy of Brazil. It accounts for over a third of all its payments. However, the new booming alternative payment methods like Gift cards and QR codes make up their place.

The popular use of QR codes is soaring high over the last year when Brazilians switched to make online purchases rapidly. Cash is still a widely used payment method in Brazil. More than 80% of Brazilians have made their online purchase this year. Among them, half of the consumers have found online purchases quite agreeable. 40% of them are saying that they will keep up with frequent online shopping.

“What we have seen is a doubling of the numbers in channels like grocery shopping and other behaviors that used to be done out of home,” said Fernanda Carbonari, regional vice president of Brazil at Blackhawk Network, about gift cards and QR payments. “People are switching from dining out to cooking at home, from going to the cinema to home entertainment. And it has led to a pretty impressive rise in the usage of digital payments and QR code payments.”

The surge of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced more than 210 million people to stay at home. It has offered quick growth in digital payment. But the country has relaxed much of its COVID restrictions this year, and people are returning to shops. The use of QR code payments and gift cards is showing reliance as many buyers can use that outside instead of cash.

Carbonari believes this continuing popularity of QR codes in the world’s sixth most populous notion comes due to its ease of use. The same is applicable to gift cards.

“QR codes have joined the game because they merge two worlds, online and physical,” she said. “My two favorite words for business are ‘convenience’ and ‘seamlessness.’ For consumers, it doesn’t matter if you’re at home or in the bank; you will consume at the most convenient moment of the day for you, and brands know they need to be there.”

Carbonari said that QR Codes and gift cards have become ubiquitous in society due to the pandemic. Almost everyone knows how to use it.  In Brazil, at least 74% of consumers are ready to experiment with their QR code purchases. It is one of the highest numbers in the world.

In-store ghost kitchens transformers Walmart its Uber Eats competitor

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The giant restaurant aggregators are competing to stand out in a crowded space. The supermarkets are pouring resources to set their digital grocery offering apart. Walmart is one of them who are cutting out the middleman and is now heading to be at the top. The retailer is now making a play to be the one-stop-shop for consumers. They are heading out to the eat category, which is meeting both the needs for restaurants and groceries.

Walmart has just expanded its Canadian partnership with a virtual kitchen solution, Ghost Kitchen Brands, to the US. The first domestic in-Walmart ghost kitchen then started running in Rochester, New York, with its 28 more locations.

In a single shot, this move is coming up with an array of cuisines and restaurant brands inside the stores of the retailers. This pairing is offering Ghost Kitchen access to the unmatched food traffic of Walmart.

“We are in the food business, but we’re in the convenience business as well,” Marc Choy, president of Ghost Kitchen Brands, told Karen Webster in an interview about its partnership with Walmart. “We want to offer consumers the freedom to use technology in order to get whatever they want. When they want it, where they want it. That could mean at home while working while shopping.”

For Walmart, this partnership is allowing the retailer to retain its audience. It is marking a swift shift from raw ingredients to ready-to-eat options. “The dynamic of the 1950s where somebody would cook six square meals a week and maybe go out once a week is going to be totally the opposite,” said Choy. “This is how people are going to know how to get their food — by ordering.”

Walmart grocery offers nearly 56% of its revenue. Walmart captures at least a fifth of all the consumer food and beverages that are spending in the US. Thus any shift in grocery as a whole will offer a significant impact on the bottom line of the retailer.

On the other hand, partnering with Ghost Kitchen Brands will offer 25 brands to come into Walmart stores. It includes crowd-pleasers like Quiznos and Cinnabon. Customers who are coming into stores for pickup create a sales opportunity for Walmart. This growing Ghost Kitchen venture came after five months of the McDonald’s announcement that it is closing hundreds of Walmart locations.

The idea of Walmart is; they will not only use the ability to put all the brands in one place but also help them to use better technologies. Ghost Kitchen brand has the goal to create ways for shoppers through which they can order ahead when they enter or as they move out of the store. They can pick up their meal as they leave.

eBay and Bidadoo tie-up on B2B eCommerce for equipment, trucks

The popular eCommerce site eBay has recently tied up with Bidadoo. It has also invented this remarketing and auction company for equipment, trucks, and capital assets. It will help them to strengthen B2B eCommerce.

This partnership will use the global reach of eBay on the platform of Bidadoo for the specialty selection of trucks, parts, equipment, and attachments. Bidadoo works with various industries like agriculture, transportation, and construction.

The B2B eCommerce market of the US boasts a heavy equipment marketplace for the used items. It ranges between the value of $50 billion to $60 billion.

The industry is much reliant on offline and in-person sales along with auctions. However, this online marketplace for equipment has increased much during the pandemic. Also, eBay has worked historically along with cross-category commerce.

B2B eCommerce companies have high-value buyers who make online purchases from them on multiple categories of items. This partnership is making all sense. There are at least 25 % of equipment buyers on eBay who are also buying parts for attachments required for machines.

The participation of Bidadoo will allow a wide breadth of equipment to become available. It will include the government, leading manufacturers, rental companies, contractions, and financial institutions. The transaction of Bidadoo will come with a detailed condition report, video, photos, and necessary demonstration.

The president of Bidadoo, Howard Hawk, on this B2B eCommerce partnership, the release of his company and eBay is centering around transparency. This investment will allow them to bring a new solution and capability which will add better value to their customers. It will help them to grow their passionate team.

“We are excited to deepen our partnership with eBay to expand our asset remarketing and auction solutions,” Hawk added in the release. “For over 18 years on eBay, Bidadoo has been committed to delivering the best business and industrial buying and selling experience in the industry. From Day One, we chose to build our business on eBay. We share a similar vision and DNA: being passionately customer-centric and laser-focused on improving marketplace and eCommerce efficiencies.”

In August, eBay faced some challenges. Apart from its active seller growth of 5 % the company has seen a decline of 2% in its active buyers. However, this B2B eCommerce partnership will hopefully help them to retain their customers.

B2B furniture marketplace Hello Raye switches to 3D

Hello Raye, a B2B furniture marketplace, has recently launched a web-based tool, Snapshot. This tool lets its clients see some of the customized 3D-designed assets and 4k HD renderings in real-time.

The company works to connect architects, furniture brands, and dealers. According to them, this new product will help furniture and decor brands have easy customization of their 3D files on the web. It will minimize the need to install any kind of new software or plug-in requirements.

The CEO of this B2B furniture marketplace, Brian Chou, said, “We wanted to build a quick, cost-effective, and easy-to-use way for furniture brands to create beautiful CGI product photography using their pre-existing 3D assets.”

This innovative tool comes with better lighting, materials, and higher-quality rendering. Customers can quickly and conveniently build and change the layers for the 3D assets. It will help them to stay organized. At the same time, they can produce stellar renders without any knowledge or understanding of 3D software or programming languages.

“With Snapshots, we wanted to make 3D customization and visualization accessible and easy to use,” said CTO of this B2B furniture marketplace Brandon Zuech. “We were inspired by platforms like Canva and what it did to the industry of photo editing. We concentrated our efforts to create a user interface that was as simple to use as possible without compromising the quality of the final product renderings.”

As per reports, the changing face of the B2B commerce market and the world of furniture see a swift advancement. But for these sectors, the rapid migrating to online platforms can be challenging. Business buyers often prefer to go offline when it comes to seeing potential products.

Samuel Hatcher, CEO of the furniture company Rustic Deco, said that this factor is something that they have considered this factor earlier. Before launching a whole digitized platform, this B2B furniture marketplace had kept this factor in mind.

Samuel Hatcher has previously described the opportunities that a hybrid approach has brought to B2B commerce.

When it comes to corporate customers with a much intricate buying need, such factors work as the key area. To meet those needs, Rustic Deco has invested in 3D imaging technology. It has helped the B2B furniture marketplace come up with a very impressive digital product.

Amazon Air fleet is growing rapidly to keep its prime pledge of fast 2-day delivery

Amazon, America’s e-commerce giant over a couple of years has built an army of warehouses, shipping hubs, delivery vans, and trucks, all this ensuring that it meets its Prime promise of delivering in 2 days or less.

Amazon’s air fleet army consists of 75 planes and is increasingly becoming an important component of the company’s logistics chain. The fleet not only gives greater control over its own packages to the platform but also enables it to serve even faster deliveries. Moreover, the company is indulging in direct competition with logistics specialists like FedEx and UPS. According to analysts, the company is on its way to becoming a “top logistics provider” and it is expected that it could one-day fly packages for other companies, not just items in its own warehouses. The company’s latest air cargo expansion suggests Amazon Air is inclining towards becoming a more serious competitor to traditional carriers.

Amazon Air which operates out of 42 U.S. airports shows signs of a growing footprint which enables it to ship packages and inventory to areas that are just a short truck drive or delivery van route away from a significant chunk of the U.S. population.

Amazon Air’s increasing proximity to consumers is the prime element as Amazon continues to move up delivery speeds from two- to one-day shipping. Amazon constantly pushes to get products to customers at a faster and faster clip has brought with it higher shipping costs. Amazon spent more than $61 billion on shipping in 2020, up from nearly $38 billion the year before.

“Amazon Air’s expanded reach bolstered its ability to rapidly move inventory among its multitude of warehouses and sorting services to make next-day delivery possible for an enormous array of products to much of the U.S. population,” according to the report.

The platform has spent billions of dollars on this mode of transportation to make delivery as fast as possible, but the latest move was when Amazon opened its $1.5 billion “superhub” at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. It spreads across 600 acres and features an 800,000-square-foot robotic sort center, where packages are sorted by zip code and consolidated into trucks before delivery. The hub could handle up to 200 flights a day.

Interestingly, Amazon flight activity has increased 17% over the past six months to an average of 164 flights per day. The platform is anticipated to grow by another 15% by next year.

Related: Amazon Air launches Air Cargo Hub for $1.5 billion to improve connectivity and delivery time

Not content, Amazon hence begins to ship cargo for outside customers, competing with FedEx and UPS

Amazon is reportedly spending a lot to expand and grow its shipping business since it is not satisfied with only delivering products bought on its own site. The company is now moving cargo for outside customers to compete directly with FedEx and UPS.

As per a report, the platform’s first-quarter earnings displayed a hike of 80% in capital expenditures which helped to proliferate the capacity of its logistics network by 50% each year. The retail giant is currently shipping around 75% of its own goods which includes a global transportation network with 400,000 drivers, 40,000 trucks, 30,000 vans, and over 70 planes. Perhaps the biggest investment of Amazon so far is the new $1.5 billion Amazon Air hub that opened in Kentucky in August. Around the same time, Amazon announced it was expanding its same-day delivery service to six new cities, namely Baltimore, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, and Tampa. 

“They want to be a new kind of U.S. Postal Service, where everything can get everywhere, but also quickly,” eCommerce consultant Chris McCabe, who was a seller performance investigator at Amazon from 2006 to 2012, told CNBC. 

For outside merchants, Amazon offers several shipping services. For instance, in the UK, the platform “logistics as a service” program — a business model which researchers at DePaul University predict will launch in the U.S. in the next 18 months.

But while the company has begun moving cargo for the U.S. Postal Service, one researcher says Amazon won’t try to replicate all the services offered by UPS and FedEx. 

“They’re not going to be just this blanket carrier that will deliver whatever package that you want them to, to whatever address,” Dan Romanoff, who analyzes Amazon for Morningstar, told CNBC. “Amazon is sort of cherry-picking their routes. They want to run and sort the parcel sizes they want to deliver.”

In June, UPS had announced that it would try a same-day delivery option, but to date apparently, it is just a pilot project.

Related: Amazon Air launches Air Cargo Hub for $1.5 billion to improve connectivity and delivery time

National Fuel Gas welcomes expanded payment options

National Fuel Gas, with its two million gas customers, had recently embraced the extended payment options. It will help the company to increase its customer base by reaching out to more peers.

Also, it will enhance customer satisfaction, and it will enable a suite for modern digital payment and better options for connectivity. The replacement of the previous online portal with a new bill pay portal has taken place. It includes text and phone capabilities. National Fuel is also thinking of reducing its late and lost payments.

Thus the new payment options will allow the customers to pay where and whenever they want the way they are comfortable. These options include pay by phone, online, text, etc.

Also, they can pay using PayPal and other d already trade-off digital banking services. This portal enables its customers to set payment reminders from email and text.

The company is looking for ways to improve its customer experience with its payment options. The launch of the portal with its partnership along with InvoiceCloud is calling for faster upgrades and easy-to-use and navigating capabilities.

This ease of integrating new options of payments allows users to have much control and ease over the platform while paying off their bills. Moreover, it saves time for the users.

A study has found that the share of US customers who use digital channels to shop has surged much since the beginning of the pandemic. Half of them are using such payment options or channels to purchase retail products and now seeking new digital connectivities.

These changes are not at all temporary adaptations. Consumers are planning to maintain the online shopping habits that they have adopted during the pandemic. Data from the study also shows that the merchants use legacy methods to offer paper bills in the mail each month and see the late payment risk rise. It comes with each of the additional steps that customers need to take to pay.

Pain points like this are making utilities, and other billers become eager to offer automatic bill payment options which can avail subscribers of the burden of paying. EngageSmart is a SaaS firm that offers InvoiceCloud solutions in its payment options.

It is looking to ride this trend to a New York Stock Exchange listing. Ahead of the IPO, EngageSmart reported that it is now offering service to over 68000 customers in the SMB space.

There are also more than 3000 firms in the health and wellness, utilities, financial services, government, and charitable giving that are using the service. Such new Payment options will propel the growth of easy customer experience.

NayaPay FinTech obtains its license to operate in Pakistan

NayaPay has emerged as one of the first electronic money institutions in Pakistan. This FinTech company previously got the grant with commercial approval to operate with the central bank in the company.

FinTech has its sponsors from one of the leading business conglomerates in Pakistan, Lakson Group. NayaPay is now focusing on helping more residents into its mainstream ecosystem for financial services. It is working on addressing the needs of underbanked citizens, as the announcement states.

With its commercial approval out of the way, this firm is planning to launch the NayaPay consumer app. Here users can create a digital wallet using their smartphones within minutes. They can make use of their computerized national Identity card for this, as per the announcement by FinTech.

As a user signs up with a Visa virtual card, they get linked with their account for making an online purchase. A physical Visa debit card will be available for the users for free upon their request. It is giving them the ultimate access to 46 million merchant payments on a global scale.

While commenting on EMI license approval, NayaPay Founder and CEO Danish. Lakhani said that FinTech is interested in open service. The services which were only accessible to a small number of consumers will now become available to a huge consumer base.

“We believe that the future of commerce is fast, accessible, and ubiquitous,” he said in the announcement. “NayaPay aims to be at the forefront in the digitization of Pakistan with our low cost and secure digital platform, which enables payments, communications, and intuitive interactions between individuals and businesses.”

FinTech has partnered with leading banks. It will help us to pay merchants, usually via NayaPay. They can easily move money from one bank to another for their everyday payment functions. Merchant clients will also get the benefit as they can receive payments, pay off their expenses and make fund transfers to other banks.

FinTech has also shared its upcoming plans for SMBs. It will offer access to a new platform, Arc. It is for offering digital payment acceptance and access to the necessary financial management tools.

Prive acquires $1.7 million in pre-funding to create better subscription platform

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Prive, a San Francisco-based start-up that allows brands to set up sustainable recurring revenue in minutes and provides shoppers the most seamless purchase and management experience available has raised  $1.7 million in pre-seed funding. With the funds, it aims to create a better customizable e-commerce subscriptions platform for D2C brands.

This investment round was co-led by Patrick Chung and Brandon Farwell at XFund and Ben Ling from Bling Capital, with participation from Defy Partners, Halogen Ventures, and Uber executives.

The company offers easily configurable subscriptions (such as the ability to enable variable cadences, product swaps, and offers), alongside personalized incentives and actionable analytics to

empower D2C businesses to build subscriptions that retain demand without one-size-fits-some rigidity. The company was founded by Claudia Laurie and Alex Craciun. They both had spent two-and-a-half years at Uber and decided on the basis of their learnings about pricing and incentives, to leave the company earlier this year. this gave birth to Prive which is now a month old and aims to better enable small retailers to compete with e-commerce giants like Amazon.

The broad idea is that by plugging into existing APIs from Shopify and other e-commerce platforms, Prive can form an opinion that it sells to merchants about what customers tend to buy on a repetitive basis.

However, the company is just in a pre-seed stage and consists of 7 team members with challenging competition.

“E-commerce ‘subscription’ is an incredibly hot buzzword,” Craciun acknowledges. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for a vast improvement in the tools that are being offered to retailers, he suggests, and clearly, investors are willing to gamble that he’s right. “Current tools can create more headaches than they actually solve,” says Craciun. “There is a lot of rigidity in today’s subscriptions making it very difficult to identify the right recurring mix of offerings. We’re here to break down that mental model.”

Walmart aims to hire 20000 supply chain employees for its holiday season

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Walmart recently said that it is planning to hire at least 20000 employees to help its merchandise with the right pace for its upcoming holiday shopping rush. This giant retailer is already the largest private employer in the nation. They have said that the roles of these employees will be in its supply chain.

The jobs they will offer will be a mix of part-time and full-time. Also, there will be permanent positions. This will range from the order fillers to handlers for freight at the 250 distribution centers of the company. Also, they will recruit at the fulfillment centers and at the transportation office.

The average wage for this supply chain is $20.37 per hour. The company will hold special hiring events between Sept 8 and 9. Walmart is now staffing up as it is facing competition for workers due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It has slowed their shipping and led to congested ports across the globe. This is causing delays and out-of-stocking for items along with the higher prices in the industries. They have also raised a question on whether retailers will be prepared for this season of gift-giving or not, especially when shopping is taking place online.

Walmart came up with the announcement of plans for holiday hiring. Last year the retailer said that it would opt for hiring 20000 seasonal associates. They also said in August that it was experiencing strong demand for school supplies, apparel, luggage, and more.

Chief financial officer Brett Biggs said that the company has increased its lead time for orders and has invested in its own vessels to speed up its imports. It is working on sweetening its deal. It has started paying special bonuses to warehouse workers. Other retailers have also announced similar policy changes. Target is rolling out its own debt-free college program. CVS said that they would drop education requirements for entry-level jobs.

Amazon and Affirm join hands offering buy now, pay later checkout payment option

Amazon, America’s largest e-commerce platform is entering into buy now, pay later space. The platform is opening a partnership with Affirm, which is an installment payment player.  This company enables customers to pay for their purchases in installments.

Hence, Affirm’s buy now, pay later checkout option will be made available to certain Amazon customers in the U.S. and it starts Friday. This merger will allow Amazon customers to break purchases of $50 or more into smaller, monthly installments for items including furniture, home goods, electronics, and fashion.  Once approved, customers will be able to see the total purchase price upfront — and they won’t be charged any late or hidden charges.

This service is still being tested with select customers currently as mentioned by Affirm and will be made available more broadly in the coming months. However, certain buys, including those from Whole Foods Market, Amazon Fresh, and certain digital purchases like books and movies will be not included or eligible.

 “By partnering with Amazon, we’re bringing the transparency, predictability, and affordability that Affirm provides today to the millions of people who shop on Amazon.com in the U.S.,” Eric Morse, Senior Vice President of Sales at Affirm, said in a statement. “Offering Affirm’s alternative to credit cards also delivers more of the payment choice and flexibility consumers on Amazon want.” “Offering Affirm’s alternative to credit cards also delivers more of the payment choice and flexibility consumers on Amazon want,” Morse added.

Affirm is one of the best-known installment options that work for more than 12,000 merchants, including Peloton and Walmart. The stock nearly became twice its offering price of $49 on its first day of trading and hit a peak of about $146 in February before tumbling back to Earth. Shares now trade around $96 following Monday’s pop. Affirm is now worth about $25 billion. Nevertheless, Amazon’s shares remain unchanged.

wherEX, the famous B2B marketplace looks at buy now pay later as a trust-building component

As a company opts to shop for materials, there is not any kind of catalog for the B2B merchants. The need of a company sometimes is very specific and often too large for the consumer-type platform to become successful. The co-founder and Head of Growth of the B2B marketplace wherEX, Benjamin Garcia, said that eSourcing has taken off. They are giving the ability to the company to do the specific kind of quoting for their products and services. They need all that is there in the quote, and the supplier then comes up with a bid for it.

Garcia says that there is a lot of pain that is going through the process of payments in eSourcing. At least 99% of B2B payments of Latin America take place electronically within the bank accounts of the buyer and purchaser.

But there is still a huge opportunity to bring in the payments on the platform for a very simple buy now, pay later interface. It will benefit the B2B marketplace. The supply chain finance is having an under penetration in the market where wherEX is working. Thus, making it easy for them to pay throughout their software can get some more financing which can be more attractive.

wherEX has about $800 million of transitions which are flowing through its platform yearly. But at the end of this year, the company is hoping to reach out to more than $1 billion. However, the suppliers who are bidding to the clients are on a separate track from the payments so that the transactions can take place between bank accounts. The goal is to focus on introducing a BNPL-type financing tool in the upcoming months. It will be a huge value add for all the services.

Garcia said, “Once you notice that suppliers are getting paid faster, they’re getting more transparency on when they’re getting paid … it’ll be just a really strong accelerator for more suppliers getting on board and therefore more clients getting on board.”

Transparency has the biggest value, and suppliers sometimes do not know when they will get the payment after selling the products. Thus they are looking at the terms of how they are growing the products.

The company started in 2016 in the salmon industry of Chile. Garcia said that salmon companies had 300-500 suppliers. There used to be tons of suppliers who wanted to sell these companies. Garcia and his co-founder put together the company with 2000 more suppliers.