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.