Out to Launch:

Alibaba to Lead $1 Billion Funding for Chinese Food Startup. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and its financial services affiliate plan to lead an investment round of at least $1 billion in Ele.me, one of the largest players in a crowded Chinese food-delivery service arena, people familiar with the matter say. Bloomberg

Kitchenware retailer cooks up delivery service. A new partnership is helping Sur La Table take the term “farm to table” to a new level. Chain Store Age

Facebook rolls out a new “Order Food” option in its main navigation. In the main Facebook navigation on both web and mobile, a new option called “Order Food” is rolling out to select users. Tech Crunch

M&S offers Dropit’s store-to-door delivery service. Now, customers from Marks & Spencer who don’t want to carry their bags home, instead can have them delivered at their place whenever they want. Ecommerce News

DHL Express rolls out On Demand delivery to Sub Saharan Africa to aid international ecommerce. The new service allows shippers and receivers globally to select from a range of standardised delivery options. edelivery

GLS expands FlexDeliveryService in Europe. By adding new countries, FlexDeliveryService is now available in twelve connected countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Ecommerce News


Industry Skinny:

Meal delivery startup buckles under weight of supply chain costs. Meal-delivery startup Sprig closed its doors due to the “complexity of owning meal production through delivery at scale,” The Wall Street Journal reported last week based on a message from the company’s chief executive. Supply Chain Dive

A $60 Billion E-Commerce loophole in China may Be narrowing. Cross-border e-commerce, the booming backdoor avenue allows Chinese consumers to buy overseas-manufactured goods online and effectively circumvent the regulatory issues that have stymied access to consumer products from cosmetics to Cognac. Bloomberg

LTL carrier sues Amazon Fulfillment over contract breach, ‘bullying’. Central Freight Lines, a Waco,TX-based LTL carrier, recently filed a lawsuit against Amazon Fulfillment Services alleging numerous contract violations and withheld payments. Supply Chain Dive

Swiss boom in clothing exports Is really about picky customers. This past week an increase in Swiss exports of clothing and shoes isn’t quite what it seems. Foreign shipments of textiles and footwear rose 10 percent in 2016, second only to pharmaceuticals and chemicals. Yet what that really reflects is dissatisfied shoppers sending back their purchases. Bloomberg Markets

Smartphones Catching Up To PCs For Online Purchasing. There’s no stopping mobile commerce. Media Post

Walmart’s E-Commerce Surges 63% As New Strategies Flourish. After years of floundering while Amazon and other e-commerce innovators ate its lunch, Walmart yesterday reported a 63% spike in online sales for its latest quarter, building out on a 29% improvement in the previous quarter. Media Post

Global Food Delivery Mobile Application Market to reach $16,605 Million by 2023. According to a new report by Allied Market Research the global food delivery mobile application market size was valued at $3,120 million in 2016, and is projected to reach $16,605 million by 2023. Allied Market Research

Tech Space:

Alibaba’s Cainiao Invests Billions in AI Vans. Cainiao Network Technology, the logistics unit of Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. (BABA), is aiming to make deliveries more efficient by using artificial intelligence and has inked deals with SAIC Motor and Dongfeng Motor to achieve that goal. Investopedia

Chefs+Tech: The tricky business of comparing delivery apps. This is anecdotal evidence at best, but illustrates that comparing food delivery companies, especially publicly-traded vs. privately-held delivery companies, is tricky business. Skift

Teleretail built a delivery robot to make on-demand logistics easy for small businesses. Delivery robots are seen as novelties, job-killers and a gimmicky way for restaurants to reach nearby customers. Tech Crunch

Amazon patents shipping label with built-in parachute for dropping packages from drones. It’s a bird, it’s a plane … oh wait, it’s my package of diapers. Geek Wire

Wal-Mart patent uses blockchain tech for drone deliveries. Wal-Mart is seeking patent approval for a new type of drone delivery system that will deposit packages into secure lockers that offer communication with the drone in question. Supply Chain Drive

Tesco achieves 1-hour automated delivery. The UK’s largest supermarket has successfully completed its first one-hour robotic delivery, fighting back against tech giant Amazon’s foray into the sector. Retail Gazette


Food for Thought:

Ecommerce packaging considerations and delivery challenges. Online shopping and delivery has revolutionised how consumers purchase goods, their expectations, and how retailers operate. Smithers Pira experts James White and Michael Kuebler provide an overview of the challenges in the ecommerce environment and how they impact packaging considerations. Smithers Pira

9 trends in last-mile delivery. From drones to in-city warehouses, e-commerce is forcing changes in how retailers and carriers do business. Retail Dive

E-commerce fulfillment, retail locations are converging. The growth of e-commerce and the increasing emphasis on delivery speed and in-store pick-up is precipitating a convergence of industrial distribution and retail real estate. Retail Dive

Will keeping the customer happy mean opening up systems? When it comes to eCommerce, the ability to deliver customer choice and convenience is a key differentiator. edelivery