Google unveils shopping and same-day delivery service

Faith Merino · March 28, 2013 · Short URL:

Google Shopping Express could give Amazon Prime a run for its money

It’s a good day for busy parents, harried professionals, and lazy asses everywhere. Google unveiled its new shopping and same-day delivery service Google Shopping Express Thursday, which would allow shoppers to purchase items online from local retailers and get their items during a time window of their choosing. Now you have no excuse not to work weekends and late nights.

Because it’s still in its early testing phase, the service is only available to shoppers in the Bay Area for the time being. But the good news is that if you sign up now to be a tester, you get free, unlimited deliveries for six months.

Some of the retailers Google is working with include Target, Walgreens, Staples, American Eagle, Toys R Us, and Babies R Us, as well as local stores such as San Francisco’s Blue Bottle Coffee, Raley’s Nob Hill Foods, and the Bay Area’s Palo Alto Toy & Sport.

“So, hopefully, no more trips across town for simple errands,” wrote Tom Fellows, Product Management Director for Google Shopping Express, in a blog post. “The pilot will expand as we work out the kinks, so please stay tuned.”

The idea is that retailers can list items for free and then pay a commission to Google when a transaction takes place.

The company says it’s still working on its long-term pricing plan, but early reports suggest that it will directly compete with Amazon Prime’s $79 yearly subscription fee by charging users $64 to $69 a year.

That’s a pretty attractive price, especially for same-day deliveries, so Amazon likely won’t tolerate being undercut. Of course, Amazon Prime comes with access to unlimited TV episodes and movies at no extra cost, and Prime customers tend to be fiercely loyal to Amazon. But a recent report from Morningstar suggests that that $79 annual fee is almost pure profit, which means Amazon is capable of dropping the price if need be.

A study released earlier this month by the Boston Consulting Group found that consumers aren't necessarily attracted to same-day delivery. Free delivery, and overall lower prices, are much bigger motivators for online shopping than same day delivery, the study found. 

The announcement from Google comes at the same time that Walmart is reportedly considering its own delivery plan that would involve recruiting customers to deliver items to other customers in their area. The plan faces a number of legal challenges and liabilities, considering the fact that it would essentially do what TaskRabbit does—but without doing background checks on its volunteers like TaskRabbit does. Additionally, CEO Joel Anderson says that compensation will essentially cover the cost of their gas, which doesn’t sound very attractive… But hey, maybe I'm just being a Negative Nancy because I don't like the idea of a creepy stranger getting my address and coming to my house. It could be a great way to meet people.


Support VatorNews by Donating

Read more from our "Trends and news" series

More episodes