retail news in context, analysis with attitude

TechCrunch.com reports that "Google is stealthily preparing to launch an Amazon Prime competitor called 'Google Shopping Express.' According to one source the service will be $10 or $15 cheaper than Amazon Prime, so $69 or $64 a year and offer same-day delivery from brick-and-mortar stores like Target, Walmart, Walgreens and Safeway (though no specifics were mentioned by our sources).

"When and if it launches, the product will be a competitor to Amazon Prime, eBay Now, Postmates' 'Get It Now' and even smaller startups like Instacart."

The story goes on:

"Google has been scrambling for a way to capitalize on its advantages in the space — the fact that it’s arguably one of the first places people visit when they want to find a product — for a while.

"If the Google Shopping Express service debuts publicly, and we have no reason to think that it won’t, this would mean that the company could capitalize on its recent acquisitions of both BufferBox and Channel Intelligence to dominate the online-to-offline retail market. Google could possibly use its BufferBox delivery lockers to facilitate the ease of shipment — like what Amazon has been testing in Seattle, New York and the UK. It could use Channel Intelligence’s data-management platform to coordinate sales and delivery."

Reuters reports that "the test is focused on the San Francisco Bay Area and has been going for at least a month."
KC's View:
One of the interesting things that Google could bring to such an arrangement is that while it is highly unlikely that Safeway would put Amazon lockers in its stores, it might well install Google lockers because it would be a partner in this Shopping Express business. And that could be a real advantage in terms of proximity and access.