Breaking into the marketplace space and competing with the likes of Amazon, Shopify and eBay is difficult. Teaming up with a powerhouse carrier can make it easier.
That’s exactly the route Austin, Texas-based Cart.com is going. The e-commerce platform on Wednesday announced a strategic alliance with FedEx (NYSE: FDX) Dataworks, the carrier’s data science and machine learning arm, to enhance the online shopping experience for merchants and consumers alike.
The collaboration will bring together insights from Cart.com’s Unified Analytics platform and FedEx’s trove of fulfillment data to build integrated solutions that improve the e-commerce experience in a few different ways.
One, for example, will focus on optimizing merchants’ omnichannel sales by driving demand across channels and connecting with customers where they search and buy the most. The companies will also work to add more delivery options that are faster, more affordable or lower emission. They will also help merchants build more efficient returns management strategies.
Another core emphasis will be on enhanced fulfillment insights, which can help merchants determine the best places to store and source inventory for quick and easy deliveries. Greater shipping visibility is another goal so that customers know exactly where their order is and when it will arrive.
As e-commerce and online shopping have ascended into the mainstream, brands have more to worry about than ever when it comes to providing good customer experiences.
According to Ipsos, an astounding 85% of online shoppers said they would switch to a competitor if they have what they perceive as a negative delivery experience. And per Khoros, 83% of consumers factor in customer service quality when making a purchase decision.
“Actionable data remains a competitive advantage” said Omair Tariq, CEO and co-founder of Cart.com. “Combining that with the powerful data insights from FedEx on the post-purchase experience will allow us to create unparalleled solutions that deliver consistency and confidence for merchants as they manage their business and engage with their customers while delivering a simple and reliable e-commerce journey for consumers.”
For Cart.com, combining with FedEx is just the cherry on top of a strong year that saw it raise $240 million in funding amid explosive revenue growth.
Watch: The State of FedEx
But for FedEx, the move could be interpreted as a way to jump-start the carrier’s slowing e-commerce business. The firm in September began dumping flights, grounding aircraft and closing stores as its e-commerce shipping demand waned.
By combining Dataworks’ post-sale insights with Cart.com’s pre-sale data, FedEx may be making a bid to better understand the selling environment for e-commerce shippers — and potentially find new ways to capture them.
“With the power of our digital and physical networks, we’re redefining what’s possible,” said Sriram Krishnasamy, CEO of FedEx Dataworks. “We’re developing new tools to help merchants make more informed supply chain decisions in alignment with their fulfillment plans, sustainability goals and consumer promises.”
Like many carriers, FedEx was taken aback by the speed at which consumer spending shifted from goods to services. Company estimates had projected demand for its premium shipping service to return to pandemic highs by the second half of 2024. But that target could be in jeopardy.
“Unquestionably, the commencement and the speed and depth of that shift was beyond what we had certainly anticipated,” said Mike Lenz, chief financial officer of FedEx, at the virtual Baird Global Industrial Conference on Tuesday.
“We were up to 16 flights across the Pacific — that was the plan,” added Lenz, addressing the firm’s scaling back of air carrier operations. “There’s no scenario where we envision coming back to that level of trans-Pacific flying, even if you were to see a shift. Every downturn begets an upturn, but even in that circumstance we wouldn’t go back to that level of flying.”
FedEx is also consolidating its Ground network and enacting driver furloughs next month in its less-than-truckload arm, FedEx Freight.