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Google Working on Amazon Prime Competitor

By - Source: TechCrunch | B 7 comments

Google is supposedly out to undercut Amazon Prime with a home delivery offering of its own.

Unnamed sources are claiming that Google is silently preparing an Amazon Prime competitor called "Google Shopping Express." It's slated to undercut Amazon's subscription service by $10 to $15 USD per year, and will supposedly provide same-day delivery from local brick-and-mortar stores like Target, Walmart, Walgreens and Safeway.

The news is interesting given that Google said back in December that it has no plans to go retail (virtual or brick and mortar), despite how things may look on Google Shopping and Google Play. The company's VP of Shopping, Sameer Samat, said that becoming an actual retailer at this point "would not be the right decision." 

Speculation about Google going full retail surfaced after the company purchased shopping locker service BufferBox. Fending off rumors, Samat said that the BufferBox acquisition was about helping other retailers become more competitive. Listed retailers can offer products to consumers who may not have a set or secure location to receive packages.

"We are trying to provide a level playing field for retailers," he said.

Then in early February ICG Group announced that Google had acquired one of its consolidated companies, Channel Intelligence Inc., for $125 million in cash. It's an e-commerce solutions company with technologies that are designed to boost the sale of products online including a Facebook platform, product search engines, and other services. Google said it acquired to company so that customers can save money and time thanks to an improved shopping experience.

The current rumor claims that Tom Fallows, an e-commerce product manager at Google, is running the show in an effort to focus Google's e-commerce initiatives. For a while, Google had reportedly been looking for a way to capitalize on its advantages in the e-commerce space. Additionally, Google Wallet and Google Shopping need a focal point, a virtual "store shelf" for big-name retailers.

Both of its recent acquisitions seemingly back up the current rumor. Unfortunately, little else is known at this time. However, there's a theory that Google will leverage the Channel Intelligence's data management platform to coordinate sales and delivery while the BufferBox delivery lockers will allow consumers who may not have a set or secure address to receive shipments.

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  • 2 Hide
    lunyone , March 6, 2013 2:37 AM
    So for $55-60/year I can have a similar experience that Amazon would give me? Of coarse Amazon Prime w/video streaming is a nice bonus, if you use it, but would Google have a similar option with their proposed service?
  • 0 Hide
    lunyone , March 6, 2013 2:38 AM
    I meant $65-70/year, my math is off :) 
  • 2 Hide
    slabbo , March 6, 2013 2:39 AM
    Interesting, but if you're a student Amazon Prime only costs 1/2 the amount. Is Google going to be competitive with that ($39/year) price too, and what about the other benefits that Amazon Prime members have like the instant streaming and the free Kindle book borrowing that's included in Amazon Prime. If Google can offer something like that for $39 I might get that too!
  • 1 Hide
    slomo4sho , March 6, 2013 4:18 AM
    Wouldn't this actually be ShopRunner competitor? Unless, of course, Google plans on expanding the play store to a marketplace...
  • 0 Hide
    ubercake , March 6, 2013 12:14 PM
    The unfortunate part here is the local brick and mortar stores (Target, Walmart, Walgreen's, etc...) charge higher prices than Amazon for most products. This is primarily the reason I shop online.

    If I need something now from a local store and absolutely can't wait two days for an Amazon Prime delivery, I get in my car and go pick it up. With Prime, I can even get discounted next-day for an added $3.99/item.

    And then there's the available streaming video service that keeps getting better.

    I guess the only advantage Google is selling here is the same-day delivery. The price per product will most likely be more.

    Yes, they could charge less for their same-day delivery serice, but unless Google plans to become a distributor and build some warehouses around the country then offer discounted prices on products, they aren't competing with Amazon Prime.

    No comparison should even be made between the two.

    Google is simply selling a same-day delivery service.
  • 0 Hide
    jonyah , March 6, 2013 1:16 PM
    Got my popcorn, sitting back waiting for the show to start. I love my prime account. I still only pay the student price though. Once you have it, I think you get to keep it forever? I've never had to reconfirm I'm a student (actually, I just still have access to an edu email account). I welcome any type of competition for Amazon, especially now that I'm getting charged Tax from them. Though I don't think there's much downside in prices considering they're barely making a profit at the moment.
  • -1 Hide
    ddpruitt , March 6, 2013 1:39 PM
    So you're going to guarantee me great customer service, massive selection, guaranteed next day or 2 day delivery, lowest prices, and free videos?

    Sorry Google but this is one area were you don't have a chance. Retail is world's away from running online services, trust me I know.
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