Target on Monday said it will acquire Grand Junction, a San Francisco-based transportation technology company, for an undisclosed amount, to improve and expand delivery capabilities. The acquisition will accelerate Target’s investments and ongoing efforts to transform its supply chain, the company said in a blog post.
Grand Junction, founded in 2014, is a software platform used by retailers, distributors and third-party logistics providers to manage local deliveries through a network of more than 700 local and regional carriers. The company is already working with Target on a same-day delivery pilot at the Target store in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood, the company said.
Upon deal close, Grand Junction founder and CEO Rob Howard will become a vice president of technology at Target and employees will become Target team members, according to the report.
Same-day delivery is the closest that e-commerce can get to an in-store purchase, where a shopper can walk out with an item right after they pay for it. It’s a complex and expensive proposition — even for Amazon, which has proven to be the master. And it runs counter to the traditional brick-and-mortar supply chain, which depends on more efficient distribution to stores, with customers handling the last mile.
Grand Junction based its own operations on two essential ideas: that retailers know their inventory really well and that a slew of local and regional delivery companies already exist. The key has been to match those two things up, via technology.
"Grand Junction’s technology and algorithms will help Target deliver to guests faster and more efficiently," Arthur Valdez, Target’s executive vice president, chief supply chain and logistics officer, said in the blog post. "This acquisition is part of Target’s ongoing efforts to strengthen Target’s supply chain to provide greater speed, reliability and convenience for guests."
Target and Walmart have each attempted to solve the last-mile puzzle piece by bolstering in-store pickup of online orders. Walmart is testing delivery by using store staff, while Target has piloted curbside pickup off and on and next-day delivery for REDcard loyalty members. But while many customers appreciate in-store pickup, Amazon has managed to turn same-day delivery into a customer expectation, if not a priority.
"Target is seizing a tremendous opportunity to leverage local delivery as a retail differentiator," Howard said in a statement. "We’re thrilled about helping to pursue this opportunity, and to join Target at this unprecedented time in retail."