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Commerce chronicles: DoorDash delivers for more retailers, Walmart expands drone delivery, Salesforce’s new ecommerce AI tools and FedEx announces ecommerce platform

Jan 22, 2024 - Alyssa Wolfe
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New ecommerce offerings powered this week’s news, from Salesforce’s new AI tools and FedEx’s future ecommerce platform to Ford’s ecommerce solution for dealers and Walmart’s expanded drone delivery in Texas. Additionally, more retailers are diversifying their fulfillment methods by using DoorDash for non-food delivery. Visit our blog every Monday for a roundup of the latest commerce news.

DoorDash adds more non-food retailers to its delivery offering

A recent press release1 from DoorDash announced that it had added The Vitamin Shoppe, Camping World, Golf Galaxy, JD Sports and Finish Line to its rapid delivery service. The additions are health, wellness and athletic retailers tailored toward meeting January resolution needs. The strategic partnerships allow DoorDash to deliver vitamins, sneakers and other products dedicated to bolstering consumer health journeys.

DoorDash, started in a Stanford dorm room by co-founders Tony Xu and Stanley Tang, has over 100,000 retail stores across its Marketplace and Drive Platforms, offering nearly 2 million non-restaurant products, including household essentials, pet products, clothing, beauty items, office products and sporting goods. The new retailers will be available on DashPass, the membership program, which offers reduced service fees and $0 delivery.

Although the company started as food delivery, they are now the leading convenience delivery platform for retail stores in North America.

Walmart to expand drone delivery in Texas

The Dallas-Fort Worth has become Walmart’s hotspot for drone delivery. Launching in 2022 with DroneUp and adding Wing in 2023, Walmart could initially deliver to 60,000 homes. However, a recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) exemption granted to Wing and Zipline, allowing drones to fly beyond an observer’s line of sight, has enabled a key expansion in DFW metroplex2.

The additional delivery radius for area stores increases it from 6 to 10 miles, letting Walmart’s drone program reach 1.8 million more homes, almost 75% of the Dallas-Fort Worth population. This expands on-demand drone delivery services to more than 30 towns and municipalities in the DFW metroplex.

Drone deliveries mean Walmart can deliver thousands of items, from household items to groceries, through Wing and Zipline’s websites and receive deliveries within minutes. Zipline’s co-founder and CEO Keller Rinaudo Clifton said in an article3, “Over time, we plan to serve millions of Dallas residents with thousands of quiet, fast, precise Zipline deliveries every day.”

Although Walmart drone deliveries will make it easy to swiftly receive thousands of items, there are limitations. The maximum weight of each package is up to 10 pounds and must meet volume requirements. Walmart’s drone fact sheet4 states that drones will take 30 minutes or less to deliver after ordering and that current favorites delivered by drone are Bounty Paper Towels, Red Bull, Great Value Cookies and Cream ice cream, rotisserie chicken and a 2lb bag of lemons.

FedEx launching new ecommerce platform

In Fall 2024, FedEx is launching a new ecommerce platform called fdx5. The company acquired ecommerce marketplace platform ShopRunner in 2020 and now looks to compete with Amazon’s logistics after losing ground to the ecommerce giant. Amazon made more home package deliveries in the US in 2022 than both FedEx and UPS.

FedEx looks to offer more digital capabilities and insights and help merchants customize the post-purchase experience. They also want brands to be able to provide their customers with more accurate shipment information and manage orders more effectively.

FordDirect launches new ecommerce platform for dealers

FordDirect – which provides digital, data and technology marketing and advertising solutions – is a joint venture between Ford Motor Company and its franchise dealers. The service, which has been around for years, gained CEO Dean Stoneley in 2022. FordDirect recognized that dealers struggled to find and access vetted vendors for products and services. To help dealers keep ahead of technological curves, offer dealership employees support and provide a source to get everyday supplies at a lower cost, FordDirect announced the launch of a brand-new ecommerce platform called “The Shop6.”

The Shop provides Blue Oval dealers a curated list of vetted vendors with products and services at pre-negotiated prices, giving them a seamless way to find and enroll in new offerings. The Shop already includes businesses like ComplyAuto, Work Truck Solutions, WarrCloud and other vendors, but plans to expand the list over time. The goal is to save dealers the time and energy it takes to search and negotiate solutions and supplies so they can put that focus back on core operational activities.

Because FordDirect understands the increasing day-to-day demands, including managing employees, updating technology, planning sales events, meeting customer demands and complying with regulations – they aimed to create more efficiencies and cost savings. In the press release, Stoneley says, “The Shop is now open to help Ford Dealers and Lincoln Retailers spend more time doing what they do best while also supporting FordDirect's mission as a trusted partner and resource to find the best vendors in the market for all of their needs.”

Salesforce launches new AI tools for ecommerce businesses

At NRF 2024 (National Retail Federation Expo), Salesforce announced new AI-powered ecommerce tools that leverage customer data and provide analytics around employee productivity, customer loyalty and return activity. The series aims to help small businesses, marketers, merchandisers and customers through the Einstein 1 platform7.

Salesforce’s new retail innovations use generative AI built into Commerce Cloud and Marketing Cloud to help merchandisers and marketers gain a real-time understanding of customer behaviors and preferences. They can leverage that information to optimize each interaction to boost loyalty, drive revenue and increase productivity.

New offerings8 include Page Designer, which assists with the design, build and customization of ecommerce sites and pages more quickly, and Return Insights in Order Management, Inventory Insights and Customer and Product Insights.

Marketers get help from Global Promotion Management, Referral Marketing and Segment Creation. They can also utilize Content Creation for Marketing Cloud Engagement to solve content bottlenecks in campaign and personalization strategies.

Shoppers also benefit with Einstein Copilot for Shoppers. This generative AI assistant powers personalized conversations. It makes finding products faster using existing customer data, shopper location, preferences and past purchases.

References:

  1. https://about.doordash.com/en-us/news/doordash-announces-multiple-retail-partners
  2. https://www.retaildive.com/news/walmart-wing-zipline-expand-dallas-fort-worth-texas-drone-delivery/704300/
  3. https://www.flyzipline.com/newsroom/stories/articles/our-next-flight-with-walmart?utm_medium=organic-social&utm_source=linkedin-ads&utm_campaign=2024-jan-us-walmart-dallas-announcement&utm_content=blog&utm_term=na
  4. https://corporate.walmart.com/content/dam/corporate/documents/newsroom/2023/01/05/walmart-drone-delivery-by-the-numbers/walmart-drone-factsheet.pdf
  5. https://www.theverge.com/2024/1/14/24038042/fedex-fdx-e-commerce-platform-amazon-rival-shoprunner
  6. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/forddirect-opens-the-shop-a-one-stop-e-commerce-platform-for-ford-dealers-and-lincoln-retailers-302035114.html
  7. https://www.salesforce.com/products/platform/?d=cta-body-promo-8
  8. https://www.salesforce.com/news/press-releases/2024/01/14/nrf-commerce-marketing-news/

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