Science & Tech
Google takes aim at Amazon Prime with its own same-day delivery service
Same-day shipping on Amazon Prime was supposed to destroy physical retail stores, but it hasn't really done so yet. Amazon's rollout of same-day delivery has been tiny, very few Amazon Prime customers are eligible and the cost of the delivery sometimes exceeds the price of the actual product purchased. Have you ever heard any Amazon Prime customers chatting up all the awesome same-day deliveries they receive? If not, there's a reason for that.
There's suddenly more chatter about same-day deliveries, though, because rumor has it that Google is about to get into the same-day game. Reports surfaced online today indicating that Google is building an online shopping tool with same-day delivery -- and the shipping will cost less than on Amazon Prime.
The blog TechCrunch reports that Google is considering same-day delivery in the vein of Amazon Prime. "Google is stealthily preparing to launch an Amazon Prime competitor called 'Google Shopping Express,'" says author Alexia Tsotsis, who broke the story. "According to one source the service will be $10 or $15 cheaper than Amazon Prime, so $69 or $64 a year and offer same-day delivery from brick-and-mortar stores like Target, Walmart, Walgreens and Safeway."
Amazon already offers something called Local Express Delivery, which is same-day delivery with a few prerequisite requirements -- you have to be an Amazon Prime member (which costs $79 per year), you have to pay no less than an additional $8.99 for the shipping and the service is available in only 10 cities nationwide.
Would Google's same-day delivery service be any better, or any more widely available? At this point, we can only speculate. You would still have to buy an Amazon Prime-style membership, which the report says would cost $64-69 annually. With regards to Google Shopping Express offering same-day delivery for items from Target, Walmart, Walgreens and Safeway, the TechCrunch report notes that "no specifics were mentioned by our sources."
In other words, TechCrunch may have just pulled these names out of their rear end.
The implied goal of Google Shopping Express is apparently to incorporate two of Google's struggling retail offerings -- Google Wallet and Google Shopping. Even though these are Google products, they haven't really caught on much. Google Wallet is available only a handful of Android devices and I'm not sure if I have ever once seen a store with the NFC device necessary to run a Google Wallet transaction.
Google Shopping, formerly known as Google Product Search and then Froogle, is an Amazon knock-off that's been around for 10 years but seems to have had more name changes than regular customers.
So just because Google is launching this service does not automatically mean it will be a success. Google Shopping Express may be a brilliant exercise in online retail -- or it may be another Google Buzz or Google Wave.