When it absolutely, positively has to be there – now.
Moving ahead with their expansion from a company that tells you stuff to a company that sells you stuff, Google, the online behemoth that defines the “search” category, is growing the quick delivery operation it first launched last year in Northern California.
The service, rebranded as Google Express rather than Google Shopping Express, is adding Chicago, Boston and Washington, D.C. to the delivery areas that already included San Francisco, Manhattan and West Los Angeles. They offer same-day or next-day delivery from dozens of merchants, including Target, Fairway, Walgreens, Costco and Staples. Google has added 16 new retailers in the last few months, the company said, names like 1-800-Flowers, Barnes & Noble, Nine West, PetSmart, and Sports Authority, as well as regional stores in specific cities. Customers of legal drinking age in the Bay Area can even order alcohol.
Google Express offers an Express Membership option, for $95 a year or $10 a month, giving you priority on delivery windows and the option to share your membership with household members, but you can get a one-time delivery, with no membership required, for $4.99. Google joins fellow cyber-giants Amazon and eBay, as well as the aforementioned B&N, in bringing instant gratification to impulse shoppers or desperate moms who have run out of diapers. Amazon’s deliveries are still on the ground, with no flying drones yet fulfilling their orders.
It’s fascinating to see the disruptive innovation that is way past due in the logistics space being led not by industry stalwarts such as UPS and FedEx but by the internet giants, reminiscent of the way Apple ate Sony for breakfast. If the internet is a series of tubes, as Alaska Senator Ted Stevens famously said, we just got closer to the day when the merchandise you order will swoosh through that tube directly into your house.