E-tailer Amazon reshaping logistics as we know it

First Amazon.com changed the way we shop. Now it’s changing the way we ship.

In the past few months, Amazon has moved openly and aggressively to increase its reach, capabilities and capacity in the logistics and distribution arena. The Seattle-based company purchased thousands of trailers blazoned with Amazon logos in the U.S., registered as a non-vessel-operating common carrier to better manage the flow of goods from China to the U.S. and leased 20 U.S. domestic cargo planes from Air Transport Services Group.

Across the U.S., Amazon fulfillment and sortation centers and smaller Amazon Prime Now hubs and Amazon Fresh grocery delivery stations are mushrooming. Through a mobile phone application, Prime Now offers two-hour delivery of select items for free to Amazon Prime members in more than 25 U.S. metropolitan markets. One-hour delivery costs $7.99.

Amazon is expanding rapidly in Europe, building a delivery and fulfillment network country by country, and expanding shipments into China using a free trade zone in Shanghai.

Is Amazon looking to compete directly with FedEx, UPS and DHL in the package-delivery market? FedEx founder and chairman Fred Smith on March 16 called that idea “fantastical” and said reports of market disruption are based on a lack of in-depth knowledge of logistics.

“Network design, technology, facilities, capabilities and route/stop densities are the key elements in the FedEx, UPS and (U.S.) Postal Service systems that make it highly likely these entities will remain the primary carriers for e-commerce shipments in the U.S. for the foreseeable future,” Smith told Wall Street analysts during FedEx’s fiscal third-quarter 2016 earnings conference call. A surge in e-commerce boosted volumes at all three FedEx divisions, including package carriers FedEx Express and FedEx Ground, during the quarter.

“It would be a daunting task requiring tens of billions of dollars in capital and years to build sufficient scale and density to replicate existing networks like FedEx” or UPS and the U.S. Postal Service, Mike Glenn, president of FedEx Services, said during the conference call. No single customer, Glenn also noted, represents more than 3 percent of total FedEx revenue. For context, 3 percent of FedEx revenue for the nine months ending Feb. 29 would be $1.1 billion.

To FedEx, Amazon’s actions resemble those of traditional retailers that use internal transportation operations to position inventory across store and fulfillment locations. Amazon isn’t a traditional retailer, however, and its rapid growth, its investment in technology and increasingly time-specific delivery demands are challenging transportation suppliers, including the big parcel carriers.

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7 Easy LinkedIn Tweaks That Boost Your Web Presence

As the world’s largest professional network–it has more than 400 million members–LinkedIn is one of the best locations to market your business, network to find new opportunities, and land clients.

I like to think of LinkedIn as your online résumé and one of the first places that someone goes before meeting you in person.

Because of the power that LinkedIn possesses, it’s vital that you stand out there by having a top-notch page that showcases your talents, expertise, and personality. You can actually accomplish this feat by implementing the following seven tweaks.

1. Optimize your profile

This should be a no-brainer, yet it’s an area that remains commonly overlooked. The best place to start is by completely filling out every section of your profile, having an updated and professional-looking photograph, and a unique headline that briefly describes why you’re so awesome.

Besides those basic tips, complete your summary so that it highlights your experiences, qualifications, and anything that sets you apart from everyone else. Don’t forget to keep this information up to date.

Finally, keep your profile name clean. Just because you have the option to add your email or phone number doesn’t mean that you should include them. And, while you’re here, go snag your vanity URL so that you’ll be easier to find–it’s also handy when you print out new business cards.

If you need to edit or update your profile, check out LinkedIn’s help to guide you through the process.

2. Add media

LinkedIn gives you the ability to add a number of graphs and other visual media onto your profile. Since we all love visual content, this is a small task that could give your LinkedIn page a major boost.

I briefly mentioned your profile image. If you’re a business owner, you could simply use your logo. Just switch it up every now and then, such as adding some holiday flare to be festive. If using a headshot, keep it as professional as possible. Dress appropriately, be aware of your surroundings, use the right angle, and rely on natural light.

You can also add banner images that contain links and call-to-action buttons. There’s also integration with YouTube, so you can share a video that demonstrates your talents or introduces you to your fellow LinkedIn users.

3. Use anchor texts and keywords

Instead of using the generic, default links that LinkedIn provides, customize the anchor text. For example, instead of “blog,” make it more appealing and SEO-friendly by using “Jim’s Content Marketing Blog.”

Besides the keywords used in your anchor text, you can also sprinkle in relevant keywords throughout your entire profile. This will help your page get noticed on search engines and even in LinkedIn’s internal search feature.

When compiling a list of keywords, start searching LinkedIn for any words that describe what you do or your industry. If you are a digital marketing strategist, then search that term and examine the profiles that appear. What keywords are constantly appearing?

You can also use Google’s Keyword Tool to collect suggestions on the keywords that your profile should be using.

Word to the wise: Don’t overdo it with keywords. Repeating the same keyword over and over isn’t going to give you an edge. Consider using secondary keywords to avoid keyword stuffing.

4. Become an author

With LinkedIn Pulse, anyone on LinkedIn can publish content. That doesn’t mean that you should share a poorly written article that regurgitates that same boring content that users have read a million times before. It should be an outside-of-the-box and thought-provoking article that demonstrates your knowledge and authority on a subject or industry. Other ideas would be anything concerning industry trends or sharing your research with the LinkedIn community.

Once you have a killer article published, the traction it receives can give your profile, and your brand, a significant boost.

Even if you don’t have anything worthy to share, you can still engage and interact with LinkedIn users by commenting or sharing their content. This is a great way to find clients that I personally have used.

5. Edit your public settings

This is another no-brainer, but again, it can easily get overlooked. Since you want people to discover you, make sure to head into Account Setting and find the Privacy & Settings option. Once there, click Manage, and then Edit Your Public Profile so that anyone can see your public profile. This will give visitors the chance to view any awards you have received or recent articles you’ve written.

6. Gather recommendations

LinkedIn describes recommendations as “a comment written by a LinkedIn member to recognize or commend a colleague, business partner, or student. Visitors to your profile often view the recommendations you’ve received to see what others have to say about your work.” While these are useful in selling yourself to a potential employer or client, having 10 to 15 recommendations can improve your profile’s search ranking.

When asking for a recommendation, you should create a bulleted list that contains information such as your skills, strengths, and services you provide. You can even put your recommendations into a PDF and place it in your Summary.

7. Join and participate in groups, strategically

Joining a LinkedIn Group is one of the best ways to expand your network. But they can also improve the SEO of your profile, since the groups you’re a part of will appear in your profile as well.

You’re allowed to join 50 groups, which should be a blend of your competitors’ groups, as well your industry’s, and your prospects’ industries’; geo-located groups; and a large amount of groups for CIOs, CTOs, entrepreneurs, etc.

LinkedIn Groups are also a great way to build brand authority and grow your business, especially once the group takes off.

Once you find quality groups, don’t hesitate to shamelessly plug your content, but also don’t forget to engage in discussions and reciprocate the favor by sharing others’ content as well.

Yahoo Is Even Worse Off Than Anyone Realized

Its core properties are rapidly losing audience and the company is shutting down half its content verticals.

What do Yahoo Mail, Yahoo.com, and Yahoo Search all have in common?

According to paid technology news service The Information, all three properties of the beleaguered company are losing their audiences — and fast. The leak comes as another new forecast shows Tumblr is also struggling, and on the same day Yahoo is reportedly shutting down several of its content verticals.

The Information‘s Amir Efrati reports confidential internal data from Yahoo showing that the number of daily active users visiting Yahoo’s home page declined 16.5 percent the first week of December 2014 and again the first week of December 2015. For Yahoo Mail, the decline was 11.5 percent and for search, 8.8 percent.

The audience declines serve as “a reminder of the deep challenges any potential buyer of Yahoo would face,” writes Efrati. Yahoo board chairman Maynard Webb indicated earlier this month that the company is for sale.

Meanwhile, analysts at eMarketer say Tumblr appears to be approaching a plateau in user growth and that it will fall further behind competitors over time. Tumblr is expected to grow to 23.2 million users this year, which is less than half the user base of Pinterest and less than a third of that of Instagram, according to eMarketer.

This year is the last year eMarketer predicts Tumblr will see double-digit user growth, at 10.5 percent. By 2020, its analysts think growth will slow to 4.1 percent.

Efrati reported that Tumblr and Yahoo Sports were performing well relative to other Yahoo properties.

He referred to Tumblr, which Yahoo acquired in 2013 for $1.1 billion, as “one of the crown jewels in the company’s portfolio.” Efrati cited growth of 13 percent in total daily active users and 30 percent in mobile daily active users over the course of 2015 at Tumblr. Efrati’s numbers on Tumblr differ somewhat from eMarketer’s, and he mentioned in the report that his data came from different product teams.

Yahoo Sports saw total daily active users decline 8.5 percent in the same time frame, while mobile daily active users increased 8.6 percent.

Audience declines and receding user growth together comprise only a one piece of waning tech giant Yahoo’s progressive meltdown under the leadership of CEO Marissa Mayer. Politico Media reported Wednesday the company is shutting down half its content verticals, including tech, food, autos, health, and music.

The news follows an announcement during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call February 2 ago of a 15 percent reduction in staff, despite reporting revenue above analyst expectations. In seeming contradiction to news of Yahoo’s fatal failings, Mayer said in a statement that day that the company was working on a turnaround.

“Today, we’re announcing a strategic plan that we strongly believe will enable us to accelerate Yahoo’s transformation,” she said. “This is a strong plan calling for bold shifts in products and in resources.”

The numbers cast skepticism on her claims.

“Among the takeaways from the data: Yahoo’s transition from PCs to mobile is far from complete, and it’s a painful one. The company has made little headway in attracting younger people to its services. The data cast doubt over CEO Marissa Mayer’s projection that Yahoo will get back to revenue growth in 2017 and beyond,” writes Efrati.

 

Comets Storm Back For Crucial Win

After being held scoreless through two periods of play, the Utica Comets outscored the Rochester Americans 3-1 in the third period to pull out a come from behind win to defeat the Amerks, 3-2, at the Utica Memorial Auditorium on Tuesday night.

Mike Zalewski (1-0-1), Alexandre Grenier (1-0-1), and Carter Bancks (1-0-1) scored for the Comets, while Richard Bachman stopped 36 shots in net, including some stellar saves to keep the Comets within striking distance early.

The Amerks were able to find the back of the net first just 5:16 into the opening period. Justin Bailey intercepted a Comets pass in front of the Utica net, spun, and fired a wrist shot past the stick of Bachman for the 1-0 lead.

Utica kept the puck in the Rochester zone for a lot of the second period, but couldn’t find a way to get it past Linus Ullmark despite some good chances, and allowed the Amerks to bring their 1-0 lead into the third period.

The Comets started the third period on the penalty kill but came out firing on all cylinders, and scored a short-handed goal just 21 seconds in. Zalewski received a pass from Friesen, made a move towards the slot to beat a defender, and buried a wrist shot to the glove side of Ullmark in his first game back from an upper body injury.

Rochester took the lead back after back-to-back holding penalties were called on the Comets just 29 seconds apart. While on a three-on-five disadvantage, Chad Ruhwedel sent a pass to Matt Ellis, who brought the puck to the front of the net and finished off a backhander for a 2-1 Amerks lead.

Utica didn’t go away easily tying the game again with 9:15 remaining in the third. Grenier stole the puck from an Amerks defender behind the net, took it to the front of the net, and squeezed a shot past Ullmark for his 14th goal of the season.

The Comets took their first lead of the game with just 55.5 seconds to play in the third period. Hensick controlled the puck at the point, slid a pass to Shields who was stationed at the right point. Shields put a shot on net that Ullmark turned aside. After a scramble in front of the net, Bancks was able to punch it in to give the Comets a big 3-2 win.

The Comets had a total of 36 shots on goal, while the Amerks finished with 27 shots. Linus Ullmark made 33 saves in goal for Rochester.

With the win, the Comets improve to 33-23-7-4, while the Rochester loss drops the Amerks 32-32-2-1.

The Comets will stay at the Utica Memorial Auditorium on Friday, as they welcome the Springfield Falcons to town. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.

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