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Narvar raises $22 million to help internet retailers deliver physical goods without frustrating customers

TechCrunch TechCrunch 23/06/2016 Lora Kolodny

Battery Ventures led a $22 million, Series B investment in Narvar Inc., joined by Fung Capital, a logistics-focused fund, and Narvar’s earlier backers Accel and Freestyle Capital.

The San Bruno, Calif.-based startup is already working with major internet retailers including: Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Coach, Sephora and Bass Pro Shops.

What’s so complicated about delivering physical goods these days? Isn’t this simply outsourced to a handful of mail carriers?

According to Narvar CEO and founder Amit Sharma, retailers on average actually use 15 or more shippers to reach their U.S. customers, not just UPS, Fedex and the USPS these days. That includes regional carriers, and will soon include non-traditional services like Postmates or UberRUSH, he predicts. Retailers are also increasingly using their own brick-and-mortar stores to fulfill online orders for customers nearby.

At the same time, these e-retailers don’t want to trouble their customers with an overwhelming number of delivery decisions, or for that matter, calls with local delivery services to arrange a schedule to pick up or return an item, whether it’s an engagement ring or a new mattress.

Online retail sales in the U.S. alone are expected to generate $373 billion in sales this year, and to grow to more than $500 billion by 2020, according to the most recent available forecasts from Forrester Research. And almost three-quarters of people in the U.S. already buy things online, regularly.

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