With news surfacing on Tuesday that Google Express would start offering its fast-delivery service to Kansas City, consumers now have an additional choice for online, on-demand retail shopping.
Google Express wants to catch up to Amazon Prime, the dominant online retailer. But it faces a steep, uphill climb.
A survey of 2,000 U.S. consumers commissioned in 2015 by BloomReach found that 44 percent of online consumers went straight to Amazon to search for products, skipping search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing along the way. For Google, its Express service is a way to try and recapture some of that traffic.
Google Express offers delivery from select retail partners, promising delivery to a customer’s doorstep in two days or sooner, for a $95 annual membership.
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That’s a $4 savings from Amazon Prime’s $99 annual membership. But Amazon Prime’s offerings go beyond retail shipping and into video and music streaming and exclusive television programming.
Both services want to beat each other to the punch on offering delivery sooner than two days. Neither overnight nor same-day delivery is yet available in Kansas City.
Brian Elliott, general manager for Google Express, said he wants to add more retail partners in Kansas City and demonstrate that they can deliver on an overnight or same-day promise. Amazon Prime offers same-day and one-day delivery for orders worth more than $35 in 27 markets, but the closest one to Kansas City is Dallas.
Google Express works differently from Amazon Prime. While Amazon Prime delivers its inventory from fulfillment centers all over the country, the Google Express model pairs the company with merchants to assist them with the delivery of a product.
For consumers, that means Google Express offerings will be more limited, at least for now.
Google Express has signed up with 17 retail partners in the Kansas City area. Here’s the list:
99 Ranch Market
Barnes & Noble
Road Runner Sports
Sur La Table
The Vitamin Shoppe
Toys “R” Us / Babies “R” Us
Whole Foods Market