UPS Inc., moving to expand its exposure in global e-commerce, said today it acquired i-parcel LLC, a U.S firm that provides logistics services linking e-merchants in the U.S. and U.K with customers in about 100 countries. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
For Atlanta-based UPS, which already serves more than 100 countries, the acquisition positions it to tap into global e-commerce's potential through an established model rather than being forced to build some of those capabilities in-house. According to a study by electronic payment service PayPal cited in the UPS announcement, so-called "cross-border e-commerce" will reach $105 billion in 2014 and will exceed $300 billion by 2018.
I-parcel provides standard logistics services with typical pricing matrixes. It also offers a self-service capability that allows retailers to walk themselves through the shipping process underpinning the transaction.
Additionally, a customer can name i-parcel the "merchant of record" where, for a 5-percent revenue cut and separate credit card processing fees, it will assume all fraud risks and handle the payment processing. Under this process, i-parcel buys the goods from the retailer at the U.S. dollar equivalent of the merchant's sales price. The merchant is paid in U.S. dollars, although the goods are displayed in the international buyer's local currency. Buyers are able to view a "landed-cost" transaction, which includes shipping charges, duties, and taxes, in their local currencies.
Will Gensburg, i-parcel's founder and CEO, will stay on following the acquisition, UPS said.