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In Brief: Google to Expand Its Same-Day Delivery Service

By Norman Chan

And more details about how Google Shopping Express works.

Last week, I made my monthly trip to Costco to buy house supplies and food in preparation of the July 4th weekend. But in my haste to get out of the place before I wanted to kill myself, I forgot to pick up ketchup and gallon bags--essential picnic supplies. That was OK--I simply placed an order with Google Shopping Express on Thursday morning and had those items hand-delivered to my door by the end of the day, crowds avoided, shipping fee waived. "This simply can't last forever" is the thought I had in my head, and yet Google seems to be committed to its same-day delivery service, with plans spend over half a billion dollars to expand it beyond San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York.

Re/Code's report on Google's delivery service plans explains how the logistics of the same-day delivery system currently works--Google has employees package orders in existing B&M stores, and centralized warehouses distribute them--as well as what Google and its retailer partners hope to gain from program. As for my own experience, Google Shopping Express has taken precedence over Amazon for many needs, since it supports some local businesses like Nob Hill Foods and Google keeps extending the promotion that waives the $5 per retailer delivery fee. Google is unsurprisingly in it for the ad business--Re/Code says the search company has no plans to cut out the B&M middle men--but wants to take high-value marketing campaigns away from those merchants. There's also that valuable individual shopper data too, which Google is keeping to itself. A year into the program, Shopping Express proves that same-day delivery can work, but I'm still skeptical that it has legs to become a business Google will care about in the long run.