Welcome to this week’s eCommerce and logistics news roundup!
Today, let’s take a quick look at where Amazon ranks in terms of 3PL revenue, revelations about Shopify’s recent security flaw and if Google delivery drones may soon be landing in a city near you.
Amazon 2018 Revenue Leads All 3PL Providers
According to JOC.com, Amazon has debuted atop global 3PL rankings in terms of revenue, surpassing more established logistics giants like DHL, UPS and FedEx. The rankings of 3PL providers were derived from research from Pittsburgh-based consulting firm SJ Consulting.
Amazon, which was included on the rankings list for the first time this year, leads the way with $42.7 billion in third-party logistics revenue, a fraction of its $232 billion in total revenue from last year. The company’s 2018 logistics revenue represents a sizeable increase of more than 34 percent over 2017 and include revenue from third-party seller fees, fulfillment fees and commissions.
Easyship’s Take: The new data and rankings from SJ Consulting shows that Amazon continues to muscle into the logistics industry and diversify its operations from eCommerce. The report also potentially spells trouble for traditional 3PL companies like DHL, UPS and FedEx, who’ve tried to compete against Amazon by offering similar fulfillment services that the Seattle-based eCommerce titan does but are still at a disadvantage, as Amazon helps third-party sellers generate sales and exposure.
On the flipside, online merchants could benefit from increased competition between Amazon and traditional couriers, which will hopefully improve services and make shipping rates more competitive in the years ahead.
Shopify Security Flaw Exposed Merchants’ Traffic, Revenue Data
Threatpost has reported that a serious security flaw has been found on Shopify.
According to researcher Ayoub Fathi, a vulnerability in the Shopify API endpoint has potentially exposed and leaked thousands of merchants’ data relating to revenue and traffic after conducting a bug hunt on the eCommerce platform and discovering the flaw.
“... I came to the conclusion that this was caused by Shopify Exchange App (actively used by merchants now), which was introduced only a few months before this vulnerability. Any merchant who has Exchange App installed would be vulnerable,” Fathi said.
Although Shopify has since patched up the security vulnerability, Fathi estimates that approximately 12,100 of Shopify’s 800,000 merchants had their data potentially exposed by the API’s vulnerability.
Currently, there’s no indication of whether the security vulnerability was exploited before Shopify patched it.
The security flaw leaked data on the stores going back to 2015. The vulnerability itself was discovered and fixed in October 2018, though it’s only publicly been acknowledged now.
Easyship’s Take: Although the security flaw has been corrected by Shopify, users of all eCommerce platforms should still take extra precautions and ensure that their data is fully protected as other vulnerabilities on them could potentially exist.
Shopify merchants, for example, should ensure that their Shopify pay code is well-protected and doesn’t potentially expose their customers’ bank card information and other sensitive data to hackers and scammers.
The recent reports of the security flaw have reignited debates about Magento vs. Shopify and other eCommerce platforms in terms of which is best suited in terms of security for merchants and customers alike. All online merchants, however, should take immediate steps to protect their own sensitive data and the data of their customers regardless of which platform they’re using.
Google Delivery Drones Could Soon Be Coming to the U.S.
Per FreightWaves, Google delivery drones could soon be taking off across the United States.
The Federal Aviation Administration may soon approve its first license for commercial drone delivery, with the frontrunner for the first approval likely being Wing Aviation LLC, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc.
Wing Aviation LLC is focused on rapid, environmentally-friendly product delivery.
According to Jay Merkle, the head of the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft System Integration division: “In the next month we expect to announce we will have our first… air carrier certificate for operating a drone airline. That is a major accomplishment for us and our partner.”
Wing Aviation LLC is reportedly looking to demonstrate its delivery drone operations in the Roanoke-Blacksburg area of Virginia before expanding in coordination with the FAA.
The development also has recent precedent internationally, with Wing Aviation LLC launching drone delivery services on April 8 in North Canberra, Australia, allowing customers to order food, beverages and medicine and have it delivered via drone within minutes.
Easyship’s Take: Though still not fully operational in the United States, the use of delivery drones is sure to increase in recent years and is a prime example of how drone technology is changing delivery and logistics. FedEx is in the process of rolling out its same-day delivery robots in Memphis in the middle of 2019 while Amazon has patented technology for autonomous delivery robots.
As logistics and delivery becomes more automated, online merchants may want to look into how to leverage this new technology by offering their customers delivery drone options in order to help them receive their shipments on their doorstep within minutes, boosting sales and customer satisfaction as customers inevitably grow more accustomed to having their shipments delivered quickly and efficiently.