Feeds

Google Shopping Express dips toe in same-day home delivery

Wants to ape Amazon and eBay, not Webvan or Kozmo

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Google will try to beat Amazon and eBay at their own games with a trial same-day home delivery service for online shoppers that will see Google-branded vans dropping off goods down the length of Silicon Valley.

Dubbed Shopping Express, the service will allow consumers to order goods from national retailers such as Target, Walgreens, and Staples, as well as a few local retailers, and have those purchases delivered to their door within the city of San Francisco, and down the Peninsula from San Mateo to San José.

"We're still working out our long-term pricing plan but early testers will get six months of free, unlimited same-day delivery. The pilot will expand as we work out the kinks," said Tom Fallows, product management director of Google Shopping Express.

It's a bold move for the search giant. Amazon already has its Prime fast-delivery service and has trialed same-day delivery before. eBay also lets people get their mitts on new purchases fast – but Google's move plans something somewhat faster.

Same-day delivery was an early choice of business plans in the dotcom bubble at the end of the last century. Here on the West Coast, Webvan was set up, while New Yorkers got Kozmo and Urbanfetch, which promised delivery within certain key cities. They all burned through VC cash and then burned completely out as uneconomic.

Google will have to come up with a pricing plan that makes a service like this viable and competitive, and that's going to take some doing. Amazon and others have built up a nationwide distribution system, and beating them is going to be both tricky and costly.

Google's key bet is that Shopping Express will bring free-spending customers back into its fold. At the moment, an Amazon buyer doesn't need Google for any part of a transaction, but this service could get the Chocolate Factory back on the web lists for people with money to spend.

The question is whether Google can do this economically. One idea discussed here in Vulture Annex is that Google might apply some of its self-driving technology to the problem in the future, and is using Shopping Express as a dress rehearsal – but there's no way risk-averse Californians will OK that just yet. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.