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What FedEx’s Newest Partnership Means for Brands

Cart.com and FedEx Dataworks said they’re partnering to begin a swap of key data that’s expected to bolster the e-commerce backend for online sellers. 

Cart.com, an Austin-based company that helps brands sells across online platforms, will work with FedEx’s logistics analytics platform to help businesses use data to assist with inventory storage and sourcing, improve the returns process and offer better shipment tracking. 

“With the power of our digital and physical networks, we’re redefining what’s possible,” FedEx Dataworks CEO Sriram Krishnasamy said in a statement this week announcing the partnership. “We’re developing new tools to help merchants make more informed supply chain decisions in alignment with their fulfillment plans, sustainability goals and consumer promises.” 

The deal with Cart.com further expands the e-commerce tools available to sellers, Krishnasamy went on to say. 

FedEx Dataworks fuels the optimization of the transportation company’s logistics network, helps digitize supply chains and also assists businesses with e-commerce tools. 

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The deal could be viewed as key for a company that’s seeing big potential in e-commerce. 

Back in 2016 FedEx was “primarily in the B2B space and when you look ahead of the market, we thought 90 percent of the growth for the next five years is going to be e-commerce and 10 percent B2B,” CEO Raj Subramaniam told analysts in September. “Well, you look back now, and look at that timeframe, we see almost, not 90 percent but more than 100 percent of the growth came from e-commerce. So we actually expanded our e-commerce portfolio in a big way and expanded our operations.” 

FedEx in late 2020 closed on its acquisition of ShopRunner, a membership-based platform that allows consumers to shop across multiple brands. The perks include free two-day shipping, free returns and other discounts. FedEx paid $228 million for the business, according to a Securities & Exchange Commission filing, and housed the business under the FedEx Dataworks division. 

The partnerships between FedEx and Cart.com gives Cart.com sellers access to ShopRunner consumers. 

For Cart.com, the FedEx partnership is also seen as pushing the concept of e-commerce as a service—the idea that pushed the company into existence—even further. 

“I think if we think about the root cause about why we exist, we want to make it really easy for brands to focus on what they’re good at,” Cart.com CEO and co-founder Omair Tariq told Sourcing Journal in October. 

That means allowing fashion companies to focus on branding, while back-end functions, such as how to get product for sale onto Amazon or Instagram, is taken care of by a company such as Cart.com.  

“When organizations are trying to scale their digital business, the existing options that they had were such that you would have to go launch a website or a platform and then you would have to connect to 20 or 30 different applications, work with someone for fulfillment, work with someone for payments…. The [service provider] stack itself was very ‘Frankenstackish,’” Tariq said. “There is no SAP for e-commerce enablement. There’s no centralized ERP that brings it all together.”