With Amazon.com Inc. working to make free same-day delivery a standard part of online shopping, smaller retailers are finding it increasingly difficult to meet consumer expectations. GrandCanals Inc. wants to help.
The three-year-old startup, which secured $4.8 million in funding today, sells a service designed to help e-commerce companies find ways to streamline their shipping operations. Dubbed Fulfillment Cloud, the platform can pull supply chain records from a retailer’s systems and combine them into a single data set to facilitate centralized analysis. A set of built-in business intelligence tools then provides the ability to find areas for improvements across key metrics.
One of Fulfillment Cloud’s distinguishing features is a heat map that can visualize how a retailer’s supply chain operates in different regions. An analyst at a U.S.-based electronics chain, for instance, could use the dashboard to check how the cost of shipping laptops to buyers varies among states. The analyst could then use Fulfillment Cloud’s more advanced data exploration features to identify the exact reason behind the inconsistency, such as a difference in how much local delivery companies charge.
These capabilities also lend themselves to analyzing packaging expenses, shipping times and the other core factors that influence a supply chain. GrandCanals claims that the information provided by Fulfillment Cloud can help merchants achieve double-digit cost reductions, which frees up resources that may be invested in providing faster delivery.
Today’s funding will help the startup spread the word about its platform. The capital was provided by AllMobile Fund and Cloud Apps Capital Partners, an investment firm focusing on software-as-a-service providers that recently closed a $100 million fund. Yet while the cash should go a long way toward boosting GrandCanals’ efforts, retailers can still expect to face an uphill battle against Amazon on the long run.
Amazon spends billions of dollars on its supply chain every year to stay ahead of the competition, inclulding thousands of trucks, 40 leased cargo planes and a small but growing drone fleet that is being used part of a project focused on automating short-distance shipments.