Friday, November 28, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

ShopRunner buys PickupZone to challenge Amazon.com

Mike Rubin's GSI spin-off expands

ShopRunner buys PickupZone to challenge Amazon.com

Conshohocken-based Kynetic's ShopRunner unit has bought three-year-old, Boston-based retail pickup service PickupZone for an undisclosed price. 

ShopRunner boss Mike Golden says in this statement: "ShopRunner will soon launch PickupPoints, a convenient nationwide network of retail store locations where consumers can chose to pick up packages that have been ordered online."

That helps ShopRunner's store clients compete with Amazon.com, which has lately ramped up its own "Amazon Locker Box" delivery boxes, as AllThingsD's Tracee Duryea notes here

Kynetic is the group of businsses that GSI Commerce boss Michael Rubin kept when he sold the rest of the company to eBay for $2.4 billion last year.

GSI pitched itself as retailers' ally in the struggle with online retail giant Amazon.com. Similarly, ShopRunner called the new pickup service "an additional weapon to fuel incremental online sales and decrease cart abandonment, as online shoppers will now have the option to pick up orders at a location and time that is most convenient for them... About half of online orders are typically picked up by customers at that retailer’s stores," especially by apartment-dwellers who don't want boxes left at the door when they're not around.

ShopRunner says it plans 30,000 PickupPoints locations at major retailers. 
"We are a collaborative partner to retailers, unlike those guys in Seattle (Amazon)," ShopRunner chief strategy officer Fiona Dias told me. "Retailers benefit by being part of ShopRunner's coalition and vice versa." 

Amazon is formidable competition with new services like Amazonsupply.com, which sells directly to businesses, offering half a million items and more in the works, and "leverages" Amazon's existing distribution networks. Dias is less impressed by Amazon Lockers, which need external maintenance and support.



Kynetic has been expanding on multiple fronts. Last week, Kynetic's Jacksonville, Fla.-based Fanatics online team-sports gear sales unit bought rival Dreams Inc., and it's hired former Comcast Versus sports network chief (and ESPN veteran) Jamie Davis to run the operation.


Joseph N. DiStefano
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PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

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