Google has launched its same-day delivery service, Google Shopping Express, in the San Francisco Bay area. This limited launch will focus on city residents and those living in the Peninsula from San Mateo to San Jose. Customers who sign up will receive six months of free same-day delivery of online orders placed with participating retailers.
According to Google, national retailers included in the test consist of Target, Walgreens, Staples, American Eagle and Toys"R"Us/Babies"R"Us. Local retailers also testing the Google waters include Blue Bottle Coffee, Palo Alto Toy & Sport and Raley's Nob Hill Foods. Both groups will be using local courier companies to retrieve the products from stores and deliver them to shoppers' homes.
"Today we're starting a new experiment, Google Shopping Express," the company said. "It's a local delivery service that we hope will make it possible for you to get the items you order online the same day, and at a low cost. It's incredibly early days and so the service is only available to a small number of people in the Bay Area."
The news shoots down previous speculation that Google would use lockers for online product retrieval. The company acquired BufferBox in late November which provides users with temporary lockers in central locations that accept packages from online merchants. Once a package arrives, the user receives an email containing a one-time-use code. When the package is retrieved, the locker is used for another customer.
Currently Walmart doesn't appear as one of the listed participants in the Google Shopping Express plan in San Francisco as previously reported. Walmart seems to be testing several of its own methods of same-day delivery, as the retailer is currently testing a Walmart to Go service in five metropolitan areas using its own delivery trucks and charging a $10 flat fee per delivery. Walmart also said earlier this week that it plans to test the use of in-store lockers for holding goods that are ordered online, a method likely targeting online shoppers that want to avoid the $10 delivery fee. There is even talk that Walmart may use its own customers to deliver shipments to local online shoppers.
"I see a path to where this is crowd-sourced," said Joel Anderson, chief executive of Walmart.com in the United States.
As for Google Shopping Express, the company said it plans to charge for the service in the near future, but currently hasn't settled on a set subscription price. The search engine giant is looking to undercut Amazon Prime by $10 to $15 USD per year, but those participating in the testing will get six months of free, unlimited same-day delivery.
"The pilot will expand as we work out the kinks, so please stay tuned," Google said.