There are three big reasons physical stores are still in business despite the onslaught of online shopping websites: some things you just can’t buy online, some people like to “touch” products before buying them, and shipping of goods bought online typically takes three or more days unless you pay for expensive express shipping. Google is looking to solve that third dilemma with their recently announced ‘Google Shopping Express’ service.
Google Shopping Express is an initiative by Google which allows consumers to buy products online from various retailers and local shops and have those products delivered on the same day with little extra cost. The key word here is “little extra cost” — same-day shipping already exists for most online shopping websites but is very expensive, so most people don’t opt for it unless absolutely necessary.
Google Shopping Express is not a delivery service per se. Rather, it is more like Amazon Marketplace. According to an official blog post made by Tom Fallows (product management director of Google Shopping Express), Google Shopping Express will be some sort of portal or website from which you can purchase products from national retailers “such as Target, Walgreens, Staples, American Eagle and Toys’R’Us/Babies’R’Us” along with local area-specific shops like “such as San Francisco’s Blue Bottle Coffee, and the Bay Area’s Palo Alto Toy & Sport and Raley’s Nob Hill Foods”. Once a product has been purchased and paid for, you select a delivery time and the product will be delivered by Google to you on the same day as you ordered.
Currently Google Shopping Express is in pilot stage and not yet available to the masses; Google is testing it in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. (If you live in the Bay Area, you can sign-up to be a pilot tester if you are interested.) Presumably if the pilot is successful, Google will start to roll out Google Shopping Express to other areas in the United States and potentially internationally.
I’m not exactly sure how Google plans on making this work. Maybe in heavily populated metropolitan areas, but in less populated or rural areas? I have my doubts. After all, if Amazon — a company that does this for a living — can only do two-day delivery with Amazon Prime, I’m not keeping my hopes high for Google Shopping Express. This isn’t the Internet Google; real stuff doesn’t travel at the speed of light. Still, best of luck. If it works, I’d love to use it.