Google testing new, local online shopping service with a twist
By Jay Keller
Google is testing Shopping Express, a pilot program in the San Francisco Bay area that offers same-day delivery on products bought through an online marketplace from select national and local retail partners.
Now in the early testing stages, the Google Shopping Express experiment is only available to a small number of people in the Bay Area who can sign up to become a beta tester.
Google also says they plan to add more Bay Area retailers over the coming months and is also soliciting participation from interested local businesses.
The actual shopping service, according to Google, allows customers to browse local stores online in one place, select a delivery window (and instructions for the courier) and “live life on your schedule” with inexpensive same-day delivery.
While it’s still very early in the program, Google hopes to provide an expanded service that will offer lower prices on local shipping for items bought at the online marketplace.
“We’re still working out our long-term pricing plan but early testers will get six months of free, unlimited same-day delivery,” Google wrote in the Commerce blog. “The pilot will expand as we work out the kinks, so please stay tuned.”
Google has recently expanded its e-commerce efforts in an effort broaden the dependence on Web search as the leading revenue generator.
Industry experts and analysts say Google hopes to compete for a market share with Amazon Inc., the world’s largest online retailers, and rising star eBay.
With the Channel Intelligence Inc. acquisition in Feb., Google added to its stable a suite of online marketing and sales tools for retailers.
BufferBox, a kiosk-oriented service for ecommerce, was also added in November 2012.