All good things must come to an end. On Thursday, John Stewart taped his final episode of the Daily Show, and fans lined up before sunrise for their chance to witness the final episode. According to Comedy Central, The Daily Show was center stage for at least 2,500 episodes. During that run, John Stewart has covered world events that run the gamut from the utterly bizarre to the downright tragic. But he has always brought his iconic comedic flavor to these events. My personal favorite was the night after the Boston Marathon bombing, when he gave a touching tribute to my beloved city of Boston. So I say farewell and good luck to John Stewart.
And now, on to the news.
- UPS acquires Coyote Logistics
- Groupon launches its own food delivery business
- Borders founder bets on robots for same day delivery
- Diesel price falls below $2.70 for first time in 6 years
- It’s been a busy week for Amazon…
UPS has acquired Chicago-based transportation management services provider Coyote Logistics for $1.8 billion (conditions and regulatory approvals pending). Coyote Logistics is a third-party shipping brokerage which finds available space in trucks for freight that requires transportation. According to UPS sources, the deal makes sense for peak season surge pricing, which requires a fair amount of purchased transportation. This is Coyote’s bread and butter. According to UPS spokeswoman Susan Rosenberg:
“We have a common set of core values that is shared, and UPS will leverage the Coyote innovation culture in that integration process. We plan to maintain leadership and employee continuity there. This opens new markets for UPS to cross-sell other services from our broad portfolio … truly the one-stop shop from package to truckload along with integrating end-to-end offerings for road, rail, ocean and air.”
Groupon, following its acquisition of food delivery service OrderUp, has announced its own nationwide delivery and takeout service. Called Groupon to Go, the program has been pilot tested in Chicago with 500 restaurants since March. The company has seen the food and drink space as its largest and most popular category, so this move makes sense. Currently, Groupon is working with partners that have their own delivery networks in place, including national chains such as Quiznos and Subway. While they are months away from launching their own delivery infrastructure, the fact that the company has business relationships with so many other restaurants makes it a one stop shop for food delivery for their current customer base.
Fourteen years after his first same-day delivery service went belly up, Webvan founder Louis Borders is working on a redo. The co-founder of the Borders bookstore chain is developing a $99-a-year shopping club that aims to deliver groceries and other merchandise from partnering retailers on the same day they are ordered. The secret to his service is robots. In Borders’s vision, less than 10 percent of orders will be touched by a human; the rest will be picked and packed exclusively by a robot army. The model has the potential to drastically reduce operating costs by 50 percent while improving delivery times, Borders said. It will certainly be interesting to see just how efficient these robots can be when it comes to the actual picking, packing, and shipping of orders though, as human hands have proven to be more nimble and agile than those of robots.
Diesel prices have fallen below $2.70 for the first time in 6 years. Diesel prices dropped an average of 5.5 cents across the country during the week ending Aug. 3, bringing the national average price to $2.668 per gallon. Fuel prices dropped in all regions across the country with the most significant decrease coming in the Gulf Coast region, where prices dropped 7.5 cents, followed by the Midwest region, where prices dropped 5.8 cents. The nation’s most expensive diesel is in California at $3.024 per gallon, followed by New England at $2.895 per gallon. The cheapest diesel can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $2.536 per gallon, followed by the Midwest region at $2.561 per gallon.
Amazon has had a busy week. What initially looked like and April Fool’s Day prank has turned into reality. Amazon’s Dash Buttons are now on sale for Amazon Prime members. There are 18 buttons in total, covering popular brands such as Tide, Huggies, Gatorade, Gillette, and Clorox. Each button comes with adhesive for sticking it onto a dishwasher, kitchen counter, or cabinet wall. The buttons then connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi. With Amazon’s shopping app, users choose a specific product to associate with the button, and how much of it to get with each press of the button. This is a certainly an interesting way to keep the customer connected to the brand. It remains to be seen how many more products and brands will be available in the future.
While it is well known that Amazon wants to one day deliver your orders via drone, it now wants a special piece of the sky to shuttle those orders to you. According to a proposal the company unveiled on Tuesday at a NASA convention in California, Amazon suggests a 200-foot space of air — between 200 and 400 feet from the ground — be reserved for state-of-the-art drones flying at speeds of 60 knots or more. To keep things safe, it also proposes that a 100-foot cushion just above that airspace be made a no-fly zone to act as a buffer between drones and other aircraft. While Amazon is pushing forward with its drone research (and demands), it is still butting heads with the FAA on drone-specific regulations.
And finally, Amazon reportedly plans to open physical grocery stores in Silicon Valley. The e-tail giant is planning to test a new service that lets you pick up fresh groceries and other items from a physical location. According to sources, Amazon (through a subsidiary) has signed paperwork for a retail location in Sunnyvale, California, and plans have already been approved for it to build out an 11,600-square-foot warehouse with eight car stalls for pickups. While Amazon already has a significant presence in the grocery space, this move puts the company in direct competition with other grocery heavyweights that have already implemented click-and-collect. It also speaks volumes to the changing nature of the “modern” grocery store.
That’s all for this week. Here are a few more interesting articles to read, as well as the song of the week, Good Riddance by Green Day.