Exclusive: First Look at Google Shopping Express in Action

The majority of household spend is still with physical retail stores. In addition, consumers purchasing goods online can generally expect to have them delivered a day or more after the order is placed. Therefore, those quick trips you make to the local supermarket, office supplies store, milk bar, etcetera have been out of reach for online retailers… until now.

Enter Amazon Fresh and Google Shopping Express.

Google Shopping Express

These two internet juggernauts are both investing in capability that will make same day, local retailer to consumer delivery a cinch. Both Google and Amazon foresee the strategic and economic value to eat into the lucrative Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) market.

I have joined the Google Shopping Express beta trial, which is delivering goods from a handful of local retailers to the San Francisco Bay area. Here’s how it works and what my customer experience has been like so far.

The retailers include American Eagle Outfitters, Blue Bottle Coffee Co, Raley’s Nob Hill Foods, Office Depot, Staples, Target, Toys R Us, Babies R Us and Walgreens.

The checkout of Google Shopping ExpressAs a beta trial customer, I receive six months free membership that gives me free, same-day delivery for any of these retailers. Industry sources suggest that Google Shopping Express will move to an Amazon Prime subscription model with a $60-70 annual fee with free shipping included.

Products are simply classified and it is easy to search by free text or navigate via product categories. There is no minimum order value, it’s completely fine to order a $1 biro from Staples and still receive free delivery. Wow!

Once your order is ready you can check out and choose a time frame for delivery over the next 48 hours. The delivery windows available are: 10am-3pm, 1pm-6pm or 6pm-9pm which caters for office and home shoppers alike.

Packaging received via Google Shopping Express.
Google’s messaging makes it clear that this initiative cuts straight to the heart of convenience shopping.

Google keeps you up to date with the status of your goods for each retailer moving from: Order Placed, Packed, In Transit and Delivered. The speed at which the retailers move from Order Placed to Packed status was sometimes less than 30 minutes for me – great visibility and service speed from a customer perspective.

Your order arrives in the agreed time window via a courier service in Google branded shopping bags. The stickers that keep the Google shopping bags sealed simply read: “Delivering you more free time”. This sums up the customer value proposition; it’s a convenience play.

This new logistics business model is a significant departure from Google’s traditional online advertising strategy. However, the Google Shopping Express checkout uses Google Wallet that gives Google the opportunity to clip the ticket.

The economics of such an offer will rely heavily on a high density of local retailers delivering to a high density of local shoppers.

Is the future of e-commerce destined for same-day, local retailer to local consumer delivery? Will we ever leave our lounge rooms again?

2 thoughts on “Exclusive: First Look at Google Shopping Express in Action

    • Lupe
    • 13th April

    Amazon is so much better on delivery times and prices. I received a $25 free trial for google express, delivery was delayed due to package undeliverable. What!! I have 24 hr guard service to accept packages, so I call bshit. Won’t bother with them anymore. I will stay with Amazon.

    • Mark
    • 29th December

    Google express may fill some niche but I’ve returned my trial membership.

    My first order was in September and the TOYS ‘R US delivery was within the promised 24 hour period…and was the same price or cheaper than if I went to the store. Same was true for some costco items I ordered. I was impressed.

    However, next order around christmas was promised in 5-days…really slow….and then on the fourth day they send me an email (on behalf of Staples) that one of the three items I ordered wasn’t coming at all. It doesn’t help me to wait a week to find out I need to order elsewhere.

    The other thing that bothers me on the service is the floating prices. When the service started in September, the prices seemed to be the same as in-store….now many items seem to have an undisclosed surcharge vs in-store included in the price.

    Thanks but no thanks.


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