The competition to attract merchants to online platforms is extending to the inside of cargo containers. The Wall Street Journal reports that e-commerce platform Shopify is partnering with digital freight forwarder Flexport to help retailers book and track ocean freight from factories in Asia to warehouses in the U.S.
The partnership is part of a race among prominent e-commerce platforms to build out logistics and fulfillment capabilities that can compete with retail giants such as Amazon.
Shopify, which last year bought U.S. fulfillment specialist Deliverr for $2.1 billion, says it can now handle and track orders from the factory directly to its' customers’ porches. That capability puts it in a category with major retailers such as American Eagle Outfitters and Gap which both offer fulfillment services to merchants who use their logistics networks, as well as Target and Walmart which both enable merchants to piggyback on their same-day delivery services.