Posted on July 13th, 2017

​Contact: Kate Muth
Telephone: 703-867-7002
Email: katemuth@comcast.net
Website: www.internationalmailers.net
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 12, 2017

 
Outbound International Mailers Brace for Mid-Year Price Increase
 
Arlington, VA, July 12, 2017 —The International Mailers’ Advisory Group (IMAG), the premier representative of the U.S. international mailing sector, is telling outbound international mailers to prepare for a significant mid-August price increase that was not part of 2017 budgets.
 
The price changes will affect two outbound international mail products offered by the U.S. Postal Service: International Priority Airmail (IPA) and International Surface Air Lift (ISAL). Both are popular ecommerce mailing services and used heavily by sellers on the ecommerce platforms.
 
The price increase is due to a change in the negotiated service agreement contracts that the Postal Service has with outbound international consolidators, its workshare partners that perform onboarding, preparation and transportation services for international mailers and shippers. In the spring, the Postal Service determined that IPA and ISAL mail products were not covering their costs and it would need to adjust the discount structure in the agreements with consolidators. The result is price increases to both IPA and ISAL services that will take effect August 20, pending any adjustment to the timetable by the USPS.
 
“The association is disappointed the Postal Service could not time these contract changes to the annual price adjustment in January, and avoid hitting customers with a second and unexpected price increase mid-year,” said Kate Muth, Executive Director of IMAG. “Regular, predictable price increases have been a constant refrain from the mailing industry. Unexpected pricing changes are disruptive and damaging to volumes and revenues, especially in a competitive market where customers have other choices.”
 
Affected IMAG members have been working closely with the Postal Service to ensure the necessary programming and postage statement changes are made seamlessly. 
 
“We are extremely disappointed by the inopportune timing of these price increases and the inflexibility shown by USPS to its business partners and their international mail customers. Despite industry’s and IMAG’s efforts to push the changes to 2018, the international mail community is now forced to pass along these increases to the market,” said Steve Greenwalt, CEO of IMEX Global Solutions, an IMAG member.
 
About IMAG
The International Mailers Advisory Group’s core mission is to address barriers to the efficient flow of information and goods across borders. The association monitors developments worldwide to identify impediments and then works toward removing them to ensure smooth delivery of international mail and packages. IMAG represents a diverse group community of consolidators, marketers, vendors and international mailing organizations.  


To download this press release as a PDF, please click here.


Posted on July 6th, 2017

​The Universal Postal Union (UPU) and International Post Corporation (IPC) have agreed to enhance their cooperation for the development of the postal sector worldwide.

In a statement sent to Post&Parcel, UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein said: “The UPU’s foremost aim is to secure the organization and improvement of postal services worldwide and to promote international collaboration in this area. We are therefore particularly pleased to engage in a partnership that brings measurable benefits for the industry by contributing to the development of accessible, efficient and innovative postal services in our member countries.

“This joint cooperation program supports the advancement of the UPU’s goals and strategy while conforming to its principles for cooperation with the private sector.”

Holger Winklbauer, IPC CEO, added: “Both our organisations share the same goal of helping our member posts to enhance postal service in today’s challenging markets and in particular to play a greater role in e-commerce delivery.

“This agreement represents a major step in our cooperation, aiming at building a mutually supportive working relationship for the benefit of the postal industry worldwide, in a context of increasingly scarce resources.”

The two organizations will work together in areas such as: IT, RFID, standards and supply chain, e-commerce markets, sustainability and support to development.

They will also look to help members to “interconnect postal networks together and ensure end-to-end visibility for consumers” and work on solutions to make cross-border shipments easier.

Source: UPU and IPC

See original article in Post & Parcel 

Posted on June 23rd, 2017

UPS has begun to roll out the UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper 2017, with volume one of the five-volume study focusing on U.S. shoppers. This volume, Digital Evolution, states that online shoppers in the United States are making more purchases from international retailers, using mobile devices to make more of their purchases, and relying more on international marketplaces.
 
UPS researchers describe a new crop of online shoppers. These shoppers have honed their online shopping skills so that they can search for the best prices from every corner of the world.
 
The comfort level for shopping via mobile devices has increased over the last two years. This extends to research as well as purchases: product research using a smartphone was up three points over the last two years, with 76 percent of millennials using their smartphones for product research.
 
UPS surveys show that 38 percent of U.S. online shoppers begin their product searches at an online marketplace, and 29 percent of online shoppers start their search at Amazon.
 
To download the report, click here.


Posted on June 23rd, 2017

The United States and China are the biggest markets for online spending, with India growing fast, according to PayPal Cross-Border Consumer Research 2016. That finding should come as no surprise, given the population sizes of those three countries. Other findings in the PayPal report, however, add nuance to the growing market for cross-border online shopping.
  • Portugal, Peru and India are the countries where cross-border online shopping is most prevalent.
  • In terms of regions, Latin America and Middle East have highest incidence of cross-border online shoppers.Middle East shoppers are comfortable with cross-border purchases, but they prefer to buy from large “global stores,” such as Amazon and eBay when purchasing from another country.
  • Consumers want a choice in whether to pay in the local currency of the seller or in their own currency.
  • Shipping costs and other fees, plus concerns about getting what they have paid for are the main factors deterring consumers from cross-border shopping. Free shipping and payment security are the top factors that could drive more cross-border shipping.
  • China is the most popular shopping destination for global online shoppers, followed by the United States and the United Kingdom. 
The PayPal report draws on research conducted across 32 markets and surveys of 28,000 consumers. To read the full report, click here.
 

Posted on June 19th, 2017

​Amazon announced on Friday morning that it’s buying Whole Foods for just under $14 billion, the retailer’s largest acquisition ever. The purchase holds implications for the future of groceries, the entire food industry, and—as hyperbolic as this might sound—the future of shopping for just about anything.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. At the simplest level, the deal represents a straightforward confluence of interests. Amazon needs food and urban real estate, and Whole Foods needs help.

The e-commerce giant has been expanding into groceries and physical locations, including bookstores, ironically working itself back into the brick-and-mortar business that it’s also disrupting. Whole Foods, meanwhile, offers the biggest name in yuppie groceries and a fleet of urban locations, which can double as Amazon warehouses. Meanwhile, the grocer is in a tailspin, its stock price cascading as revenue growth has fallen every year since 2012. Investors had for weeks been pushing the company to sell itself to a larger grocer, like Kroger. That Whole Foods ended up with Amazon is poetic justice, considering that, in 2015, CEO John Mackey said Amazon’s move into grocery delivery would be “Amazon’s Waterloo.” Doubters of Amazon’s strategy can point to the fact that groceries are a terrible, low-margin business. That’s true—almost as terrible and low-margin as e-commerce, where Amazon has already demonstrated that it can hypnotize Wall Street’s myopic financiers, while it spends tens of billions of dollars building a global warehousing and delivery infrastructure for a shopping future that is moving online. In short, Whole Foods was in a free fall, and Amazon is the perfect net to catch it.   

That’s the most straightforward analysis. But then again, Amazon always seems to be not just several moves ahead of its competitors, but playing another game entirely—chess versus checkers, as they say—so it’s worth thinking through some of the more long-term, hypothetical implications of this deal.

Read the full Atlantic story here. ​https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/06/why-amazon-bought-whole-foods/530652/