Google (GOOG) Express Shopping has taken a giant leap to become a stronger competitor to Amazon (AMZN) with its newly implemented same-day shipping service. Although Google Express Shopping is still inferior, in some aspects, to other online retailers (i.e. its currently small distribution infrastructure), it has many components that make it a strong alternative to the online shopping overlord known as Amazon (read more about superior E-Commerce investments here).
Google Express Shopping launched in the Bay Area in late 2013. It has recently expanded to Manhattan, West Los Angeles, and other parts of Northern California. Google offers many of the same services that Amazon offers, such as same-day and overnight shipping options. However, one of the most significant updates to Google’s service is its new option for the same-day delivery of alcohol (although there are a few restrictions).
Google’s success stems from its partnerships with retailers, such as Walgreens (WAG), Whole Foods (WFM), and Target (TGT), and customer data acquired via its online search engine. Google’s prestige and influence will allow the company to pursue more strategic partnerships with other powerhouse retailers to build strong, mutually beneficial relationships; these retailers may include Safeway (SWY), Best Buy (BBY), and Wal-Mart (WMT). Google also has an advantage over other online retailers because those companies pay Google to promote and publicize their services. Google could easily place its products and services ahead of its competitors so as to steer shoppers to its website.
Although Google has many advertising advantages, it also has many weaknesses. The chief concern surrounding Google’s Express Shipping is its high delivery fees. Surely for groceries and perishable goods, customers would be willing to pay a premium for quick delivery; as for other non-perishable goods, many consumers will choose to wait one or two days for their product. Amazon Prime, an extremely popular and proven E-Commerce service, offers free two day shipping on many of its items. This shipping membership has proven far more desirable than individual shipping fees.
Although there are other online retailers that do same-day delivery (Uber Rush, Amazon Fresh, eBay Now), Google’s world-renowned name, and endless resources, will help it become an elite retailer. However, it is up to consumers to decide if they are willing to pay more for the expedited service.