In a challenge to Amazon, upstart on-demand warehousing and fulfillment services marketplace FLEXE on Thursday announced FLEXE Next-Day Delivery, a new fulfillment solution that enables e-commerce brands to reach 98% of the U.S. population via next-day ground shipping, according to a company press release.
The service allows clients to control the end-to-end fulfillment process, from identifying ideal fulfillment center locations, to delivering product via integrations with all major carriers. FLEXE integrates with all major shopping carts, provides inventory control and enables dynamic order management to ensure the most efficient path from order to delivery, the company said.
FLEXE, which has been described as “the Airbnb of warehousing,” enables e-commerce brands to access a network of more than 500 warehouses containing more than 25 million square feet of space across all major North American markets that are managed by professional operators like Iron Mountain.
Would it be crude to say this effort by FLEXE is all about sticking it to Amazon? Maybe, but it's quite likely to company's aim. There are many companies today that want to go all in on e-commerce, but can't quite seem to get all the details figured out. For them, it might be easier — or might seem easier anyway — to use Amazon for fulfillment.
That can help product brands and smaller sellers get started in e-commerce, but it can also doom them to becoming too dependent on the giant and wreak havoc on their ability to keep their brand in front of the customer without Amazon taking over the spotlight. Those issues are far from trivial considering they hinder the brand's ability to have a strong, long-term bond with the customer.
FLEXE is giving them another fulfillment option, one which manages all the dirty details of fulfillment, while keeping the customer's brand front and center. That is nice to have by itself, but would be worth less if FLEXE was not also able to provide the express shipping capability that is becoming table stakes in the retail sector. Target this week became the latest retailer to test next-day delivery with its Target Restock program, which will provide REDcard holders will personalized shopping and next-day delivery of frequently-repurchased convenience items.
Next-day delivery for FLEXE clients could be the key to staying competitive with the e-commerce and fulfillment juggernaut. If Amazon revolutionized e-commerce fulfillment, then FLEXE may be set to re-revolutionize it for anyone not named Amazon.