Retail Observer

January 2021

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

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RETAILOBSERVER.COM JANUARY 2021 56 B U S I N E S S . S E R V I C E S C OVID-19 has impacted every aspect of the industry supply chain. This is especially true for the trucking and freight industry, where a massive surge in full truckload freight demand has led to driver shortages and significant price increases. Fortunately, technology can help play a role in helping your business adjust to both the demand and the source capacity. That is why AVB/BrandSource, the buying group for independent furniture, bedding and appliance dealers, has partnered with Uber Freight, the long-haul trucking arm of the ride-sharing service (yes, that Uber). Like its ride-share counterpart, Uber Freight uses real-time demand and driver availability to manage costs. And, as part of the new pact, BrandSource members will receive an exclusive $500 discount off their first completed shipment on the long-haul platform. Small businesses have historically been underserved by tech solutions, the company said, and rely on time-consuming processes across their operations. In transportation management especially, spreadsheets and hours of phone calls to tender and track loads remain the norm. According to Uber Freight, its shipper platform is a simple, intuitive dashboard built to help small businesses manage all their particular logistics needs in one place: finding reliable capacity, budgeting for shipping costs, tracking, and ensuring their goods are delivered on time. One of Uber Freight's earliest customers is the Hatch Chile Co. The U.S. food industry was the first to see a massive spike in demand as shutdowns caused shoppers to buy more staples for the new environment. Already a partner, Hatch tapped into the company's shipper platform to maintain consistent, reliable deliveries amid record volume and a triple-digit increase in demand as consumers stocked up to prepare meals at home. "The Uber Freight platform itself is fantastic – no one else we work with has an online portal that's as robust," said Hatch Chile president David Gregory. As the freight market contracted over the past few months, Uber Freight has seen the number of small businesses using its shipper platform grow 10 times year-over-year, and now serves thousands of customers across the U.S. and Europe, supporting tens of thousands of loads through the full freight lifecycle. Yet Uber Freight's customer base isn't limited to small companies. As Paul Heffernan, Vice President, Supply Chain at LG Electronics USA said, "Making sure that our freight is moving correctly, on time and at the right price is getting more complex just about every day. Having an innovation partner is super critical. We see Uber Freight as a partner who can help us get there." And, as Uber Freight expanded, it worked directly with shippers to add new functionality to the platform. Among the latest features: • Price Itemization, allowing shippers to input more detailed load needs with hours of lead time, and to lock in transparent pricing and special needs like driver assistance in advance. • Streamlining the end-to-end payments process for shippers, including improved invoicing and billing with instantly accessible billing pages. • Real-time predictions of when loads will arrive at their destinations. It is likely that the COVID blues will continue as we begin 2021, along with product shortages and uncertainty. Hopefully, as the year progresses, we will see some relief with an increase in product availability. Until then, let's lean on technology to make the best of the situation. AVB PARTNERS WITH UBER FREIGHT FOR MEMBERS' LONG-HAUL TRUCKING NEEDS RO Seth Weisblatt is Director of Merchandising /Home Furnishings for BrandSource, a unit of AVB Inc. He previously served as Executive Vice President at Sam's Appliance & Furniture and Vice President of Digital Marketing at Ashley Furniture Industries.

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