FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) has forged an alliance with BigCommerce, a venture-backed e-commerce platform, to help small and medium-sized businesses sell their products as the inexorable march by brick and mortar retailers toward online selling accelerates during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With more than 60,000 stores and brands on its platform, BigCommerce aims to help small, medium and large businesses create “great storefront experiences,” so they can sell more with as little friction as possible, BigCommerce chief commercial officer Russell Klein told FreightWaves. “So for us, add-on areas, like having great shipping alliances with a great company like FedEx, are no-brainers.”
The collaboration will give new BigCommerce customers four months of free service with BigCommerce and discounted FedEx shipping rates. It will also give current small and medium businesses on BigCommerce access to FedEx e-commerce solutions, including competitive shipping discounts.
These benefits would have been welcome at any time. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, many brick-and-mortar businesses have had to close their physical stores and are looking for ways to move their retail operations online.
That e-commerce giants like Amazon are imposing limits on what merchants can sell, not to mention suspending fast shipping guarantees, is another reason brands are seeking greater control of their own web store and marketing.
“By teaming up with BigCommerce to more closely integrate our services into their platform, we’re making it easier for merchants to manage important e-commerce operations, including fast shipping and returns,” FedEx spokesperson Johanthan Lyons told Freightwaves.
Lyons said the partnership comes at a time when FedEx is continuing to build out its e-commerce portfolio, including FedExHome Delivery seven days a week and more flexible returns solutions.
A competitive edge
Both parties benefit from the collaboration, said James Thomson, a partner with Buy Box Experts, an agency that helps brands sell onlines. “If FedEx can provide competitive rates to [so] many new customers, that’s a good move for both FedEx and BigCommerce,” he told FreightWaves.
As for BigCommerce, among other things the partnership allows it to remain competitive with Shopify, another platform that allows businesses to set up their own online stores. Shopify already offers its customers special rates on USPS and UPS, Thomson noted.
Klein said BigCommerce “partners tightly” with Amazon, and that the platform hosts a set of merchants that “can, will and should” rely on Amazon fulfillment to ship products to consumers.
“But any number of merchants are looking for their own dedicated capability to process their transactions and shipping,” he explained, “so they have comfort and the confidence that when a consumer comes in and buys something it will go out at whatever frequency they need it to and go out on time every time.”
The real value of the FedEx alliance, Klein added, may reside in the long-term benefits. “Over time, by working directly with FedEx, it also unlocks the door for our merchants to enjoy an even more expansive set of products from FedEx. All of the innovation of FedEx becomes instantly available.”