It's been one whole year now, at last report, since the first order went in on Google (News - Alert) Shopping Express, and that box of granola that started the whole thing off launched Google on a program that made shopping local as comparatively simple a matter as shopping online, to help get products to people's houses in the same day as ordered. A host of stories have emerged for successful Google Shopping Express users, and now, Google has retooled the program down to its very name as part of a series of changes that look to make the new Google Express every bit the match of its predecessor, and then some.
The first major change to arrive in the newly-minted Google Express is that more people will actually have access to it. Now, the number of people able to use the online shopping service has swelled to over seven million, as Boston, Chicago, and Washington, D.C are now able to get in on the same-day delivery side of the program, along with the nearly 12 million throughout Northern California that can use the next-day delivery side as well. With the expanded market, meanwhile, comes more for those who can put the service to use in the first place; Google Express now works with an extra 16 merchants added in over the last couple of months. Several national brands—from Barnes & Noble to Vitamin Shoppe—have joined the fray, and so too have regional merchants like Los Angeles' Vicente Foods and New York's Paragon Sports. Even locals have joined in like Chicago's Lux Roses, Treasure Island Foods, TigerDirect and Wrigleyville Sports.
Those interested—and who are in an area that offers such a service—can get in for $10 a month, or a reduced rate of $95 a year. There's even an option to pay as orders are received for those who just want to give it a try at $4.99 an order. Users will pay the same price that would be paid in a store, so the only ‘extra’ charge is for what amounts to delivery. Those who sign up for a membership, meanwhile, get same-day or overnight delivery for eligible orders over $15, first dibs on available delivery windows, and the ability to share a membership with others in the household. Perhaps best of all, new members can get the first three months at no charge, so it can be made easily clear whether this is a good idea or not long-term.
While this news really only has a limited impact—there aren't that many places that can put this information to use to begin with—it may well prove to be the start of a new development that revives the brick-and-mortar shopping experience. The great advantage to such a concept is its immediacy; users walk into the store, pick out an item and take it home that day. But with online shopping, there's a delay often lasting several days or more; place an order and then wait for the shipping to happen. This sort of combines the two concepts; online shopping that uses local brick-and-mortar outlets as a kind of distributed network of warehouses to allow for much more rapid delivery. This could in turn really catch on, if Google can expand it to more places.
Only time will tell the ultimate result on this one, but Google may well have made the critical connection between online shopping and brick-and-mortar shopping, one that could do plenty of good for all concerned.
Edited by Maurice Nagle
Back to Mobile Commerce Insider Home