February 27, 2014
Red Carpet at the Oscars
Photo Credit: BDS2006

When it comes to the Academy Awards, even the losers end up big winners.

We know this, because our friends and clients at the excellent Acure Organics gave us the inside scoop on the Oscars 2014.

In particular, they let us know about the high-value gift bags that those nominees who miss out in five of the biggest categories will receive. These consolation prizes contain around $80,000 worth of goodies, including cutting-edge items from the Acure range of organic, fair-trade skin care products.

The gift bag value is a 45% increase on the one picked and packed for the Oscars in 2013, and also includes vacations, spa days, products for celebrity pets and, bizarrely, a his and hers set of Mace guns. For those awkward interviews on the red carpet, perhaps?

The goal is, of course, to have some of the biggest names in show business discover and delight in the products that go into these glamorous gift bags. For a more organic look at the feedback on Acure products, however, we thought a scan of the company’s Twitter feed would be more representative.

Acure Organics Birchbox Items

Living and loving pick and pack operations as we do at Capacity, it’s great to see so many happy customers discovering Acure Organics products in monthly subscription gift packages, like Birchbox, which are becoming more and more popular.

It’s amazing just how good it feels to receive a delivery of great new products, whether you’re in Hollywood or Hudson County… perhaps not as good as winning an Oscar, but still something to make you feel a little special, which is worth its weight in gold!

February 25, 2014

Our automobiles seem to be right on the edge of making the “auto” the most important part. Smart car pick up, anyone? The newest cars can already do the self-parking thing and take over your braking, but Volvo wants to make them mobile mailboxes as well.

Car trunk with lots of screens (Stockholm Cars...
Is your car’s trunk about to go hi-tech? | Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The new “Roam Delivery” feature, currently in development by the Swedish vehicle manufacturer, would hook up your smart car to the delivery company via GPS and schedule an optimum time for delivery when you park up. The secure delivery key would allow access only to the delivery person (we hope!) and add a new option to the often inefficient fixed address delivery system, which as most of us know regularly requires costly re-delivery.

The tracking concern is present, as always, but feels almost inevitable at this point. Our mobile devices hook up GPS services to far more than we can imagine  unless users remain vigilant to deny access 24/7, and the convenience factor tends to trump privacy in the “always on-the-move” digital era.

This isn’t the only game in town when it comes to alternative delivery, of course. Amazon is at the forefront of many innovation attempts, from the critic-baiting drones to more realistic ideas such as delivering to lockers in nearby subway stations. eBay rolled out its “Click & Collect” option with UK retailer Argos, allowing in-store pick up, and many other retailers already offer some form of online order/physical pick up option. And back to more traditional methods, the U.S. Postal Service, rather than reinventing the wheel, has simply agreed to perform Sunday deliveries for Amazon in key markets.

Even with those initiatives rolling out, the convenience of a delivery direct to your car and ready to take home is as close to effortless as logistics providers have dreamed up yet. And we’ll take an automatic trunk key rather than packs of drones whizzing overhead any day… best wishes, Volvo!

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February 18, 2014
Dollar Sign in Space - Illustration
Online commerce, global dollars | Image Credit: donkeyhotey

It’s no secret that e-commerce is booming, with ease and efficiency being the driving force behind growing consumption online.When you consider the advantages of automated billing and one-click buying to customers it becomes clear just how important it is for businesses to adapt to this way of working.

What’s more, these savings are being passed all the way back down the supply chain.

Automatic billing of the customer proves to be far more efficient, whether the transaction is B2C or B2B. Reducing time taken at both the initial invoice creation stage and subsequent rework is streamlining a process that has traditionally required an entire department.

Cash flow is another area that can benefit, as customers enrolled in scheduled billing tend to be more reliable, especially if the payments themselves can be automated. Every day that an invoice runs past its due date is cash that isn’t on the books of the creditor earning interest. Offering a “fire and forget” payment option can help to overcome this, not to mention the resources saved in not having to chase overdue accounts.

Back with the end customer, and efficiency is again the name of the game, but this time the focus is on making the transaction itself seamless. One-click purchasing, pioneered by Amazon but subsequently released to the wider retail environment by court order in Europe, remains a primary reason for the company’s ongoing online dominance in the U.S. Here Amazon has so far managed to retain the patent to claim ‘1-Click’ for its own ends, giving it a billion dollar advantage.

That distinction will continue to come under fire from competitors as e-commerce becomes the main way we shop, especially with the advent of mobile wallets and other payment systems facilitated by a smartphone or tablet. Facebook is in the early stages of testing a single click mobile checkout option, which could give even the Amazon juggernaut pause for thought.

The upshot of all of this is the potential to greatly increase consumer demand and drive efficiency through the order fulfillment process. From transaction to billing, e-commerce solutions are transforming not only the way we buy, but the way we do business as a whole.

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February 16, 2014

Capacity LLC’s co-founders Jeff Kaiden (CEO), Arlen Fish (CFO) and Thom Campbell (Chief Strategy Officer) recently got together to talk about how Capacity is uniquely positioned to work with clients and customers of all sizes. Continue reading Capacity LLC – We Know Logistics

February 14, 2014
Rose bouquet (Photo credit: ** RCB **)

Continuing where we left off yesterday, the inability to provide Valentine’s Day flower deliveries snowballed into quite a media storm over the last 24 hours. And as the big day dawns, opinions seem to be varied as to just how well florists will be able to meet delivery demand today.

Over at CNN’s Fortune, the impact of snowstorm Pax is thought to be limited because the flowers have already arrived in the country and been cut, ready to order. Everyone knew that the storm was coming and most have made alternative delivery arrangements, whether before or at some point over the hastily adjusted “Valentine’s Weekend.” The adverse weather is a mere inconvenience at this point, they suggest.

The Washington Post, however, sees a much more difficult day ahead for florists desperate to make the most of the biggest day for their business. Their report tells of owners desperately making deliveries themselves, seeing every one as an opportunity to offset some of the inevitable lost sales.

Online orders also seem to be a mixed bag… bouquet.

Proflowers is sticking to the message that we reported yesterday, accepting no new delivery orders because of the storm. But main rival 1-800 Flowers seems to be sticking to business-as-usual, with Valentine’s Day delivery orders being accepted up to noon in each time zone.

And amid all of this weather confusion in the East, it’s perhaps comforting to know that the discussion on the West coast sticks to a good old-fashioned moan about exploitative Valentine’s pricing.

The truth will out over the next 12 hours or so as to just how much impact the snow has on flower deliveries. If you’re looking for a last-minute bouquet for your sweetheart on the East coast, though, we’d suggest getting a shovel and digging on over to your nearest store. Nothing says I love you like a five-hour trip to the florist!

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