RUMOR: Google Is Preparing to Take On Amazon and eBay for Same Day Shipping

And Possibly Capitalize on Online to Offline Commerce


While online shopping generally offers a selection advantage over brick and mortar stores, one big disadvantage is shipping. Free shipping is usually slow, and faster shipping generally comes at a much higher price. Amazon Prime meets those challenges somewhere in the middle, offering relatively quick shipping at a relatively affordable annual rate. TechCrunch reports that Google is hard at work on an Amazon Prime competitor called “Google Shopping Express,” and they’re prepared to lose a little to gain ground.

The Google program would offer same-day delivery from brick and mortar stores at $64-69/year. Amazon Prime is $79/year for two-day shipping, so there’s probably not going to be a significant monetary gain from Google’s delivery service. It does serve another purpose though, which is merchant and user adoption.

One of the biggest challenges in setting up any e-commerce venture is logistics and shipping. Even among large multi-national chains like WalMart and Target – two of the rumored partners for Google Shipping Express – online inventory, which is often stored at a warehouse, is completely separate from in-store inventory. And while you can generally check in-store availability from products, if something is available at a store 20 miles away, your only options are generally to travel a bit further to get it, or wait an extra few days to get it. It sounds like Google is trying to fill that gap by sourcing from brick and mortar stores that are closer to the end location than a warehouse, but further than a walk down the street.

“If the Google Shopping Express service debuts publicly, and we have no reason to think that it won’t, this would mean that the company could capitalize on its recent acquisitions of both BufferBox and Channel Intelligence to dominate the online-to-offline retail market. Google could possibly use its BufferBox delivery lockers to facilitate the ease of shipment — like what Amazon has been testing in Seattle, New York and the UK. It could use Channel Intelligence’s data-management platform to coordinate sales and delivery.” {TechCrunch}

Which actually seems like a brilliant way to challenge Amazon. We’ll keep an eye on any further specifics.


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