Just a few days after it was one of the lone bright spots in American Eagle Outfitters’ Q1 2022 earnings report, the retailer’s logistics platform continues to make moves.
Quiet Platforms, the outfitter’s delivery and fulfillment subsidiary, on Tuesday announced a collaboration with global shipper Pitney Bowes (NYSE: PBI) to bring value-added carrier services to its network, an open-sharing platform that’s aiming to become the “anti-Amazon.” The growing platform boasts clients such as Steve Madden, Kohl’s and Peloton.
“As we continue to expand the Quiet Platforms business, we are excited to partner with Pitney Bowes, which will enable faster delivery services and logistics capabilities to get orders into the hands of customers quicker and more efficiently,” said Brent Beabout, president of Quiet Platforms. “Offering in-network retailers and brands access to our expansive logistics capabilities enables them to focus more closely on what they do best, creating great products and memorable customer experiences.”
American Eagle’s (NYSE: AEO) logistics arm is unique in the way it operates.
White-label services like Fulfillment by Amazon and Walmart GoLocal have much larger networks. Since its formation after the company’s 2021 acquisitions of Quiet Logistics and AirTerra, Quiet Platforms has steadily grown its network to over 60 partner brands — nothing to sneeze at, but not quite at the level of the delivery giants.
But the platform, which American Eagle describes as a “plug-and-play” service, is greater than the sum of its parts. It takes the logistics and transportation assets of all of its member companies and pools them together for use by any retailer in the network.
That means, for example, that Steve Madden could be mixing its own warehouses with trucks from Kohl’s and fulfillment centers from Peloton, all facilitated through a single network.
Shekar Natarajan, executive vice president and chief supply chain officer for American Eagle parent company AEO, described his vision of an open-sharing logistics network to Fast Company in May: “So many retailers have tried to build their own vertically integrated supply chains, but building more assets and buying more resources is not the answer to achieving hyper-scale efficiencies,” he said. “Sharing is.”
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Natarajan pointed to a few other companies that have thrived using a similar model. Uber, for example, does not own any of its vehicles, and Airbnb doesn’t own a single hotel room, he said. Quiet Platforms does the same thing, but with the logistics network instead, allowing it to scale up operations as it adds new retail partners.
Adding a dedicated carrier partner like Pitney Bowes to the equation, then, is just the cherry on top. Gregg Zegras, EVP and president of Pitney Bowes Global E-commerce, sang the praises of the partnership in a press release Tuesday.
“Pitney Bowes is committed to innovation and we’re excited to work with Quiet Platforms as it builds next-generation supply chain capabilities for retailers and brands,” he said. “This partnership, leveraging the recently announced Pitney Bowes Designed Delivery service, will help brands in the Quiet Platforms network continue to enhance the customer experience.”
The new service Zegras mentioned, Designed Delivery, has potential to fit well with Quiet Platforms. The offering is purpose-built for e-commerce shipments, using consulting services and data-driven insights to build configurable delivery networks for customers nationwide. That could help Quiet Platforms manage the various needs of its different customers.