With Acquisition, Target Gets Closer to Same-Day Delivery Nationwide

In 2018, consumers in more major cities in the U.S. will have access to same-day deliveries from Target.com thanks to current initiatives to transform its supply chain and new technology picked up through acquisition.

Target has announced plans to acquire software company Grand Junction to get deliveries to consumers faster and more efficiently. Target is already partnering with Grand Junction for a same-day delivery pilot at its store in New York's Tribeca neighborhood. Financial details of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

For those unfamiliar with San Francisco-based Grand Junction, here is how Target's corporate team describes the company:

Grand Junction offers a software platform that allows retailers to determine the fastest, most efficient method for local deliveries. We've also built a network of more than 700 carriers who connect to the platform, essentially creating a marketplace for local delivery. The platform also gives retailers visibility of deliveries and tracks carrier performance.

IBM called this kind of Uber-for-deliveries fulfillment trend for Website Magazine back in 2014, and industry watchers have long speculated that companies like Target - with their incredible local foothold - could rival Amazon if local stores were leveraged for inventory and deliveries (a mistake sources believe Sears made).

What is particularly interesting, however, is to what degree shoppers will be able to manipulate their deliveries. NetSuite, for example, offers  Intelligent Order Management, which provides end-users the best scenario for an order on how to get it the quickest and cheapest (inputs all controlled by the customer). Likewise, some delivery companies allow consumers to change routes (like deliver to the office instead of the home) en-route.

That said, even with more than 1,800 stores already, Target plans to operate 130-plus small-format locations nationwide over the next two years. With a  near equal split of people who prefer online shopping versus store and vice-versa, it makes sense that Target is still expanding its local storefront presence and looking for ways to allow in-store purchases to be delivered to the home (or elsewhere) as well.

We know that Amazon has plans to also operate brick-and-mortar locations particularly around book selling (ironically since bookstores are going out of business) and groceries (testing " just walk out" technology). For the former, Amazon boasts "store prices are the same as Amazon.com," which Target would be wise to guarantee as well. 

Of course Amazon has its own same-day delivery program for eligible zip codes (see image), but the omnichannel battle between Amazon and Target, Amazon and Walmart, and Amazon, Target and Walmart will continue to heat up. Walmart's acquisitions, however, seem to be focused more on offering a broader selection as of late (acquiring ModCloth, Jet.com, etc.).