I’m not always the most prepared when it comes to Christmas shopping, and it is great when technology can help with shopping, so it was no surprise when the reminder alarm went off on my phone to signal two weeks until the big day.

This is the point where I usually spend a day frantically finding out what friends and family want before heading online and hoping for the best. Usually at this time of year my first port of call is Amazon as my Amazon Prime membership ensures free next day delivery – ideal for any last minute shoppers.

Google Express
If rumours are correct, I could be changing my shopping habits in the near future with the hotly anticipated arrival of Google Express. Google have this year launched their Amazon Prime type offering, where shoppers and consumers can order items online for immediate same day delivery from several high profile retailers. Initially it was exclusively launched in San Francisco, then expanded to New York and Los Angeles before more recently spreading to Chicago, Boston and Washington D.C.. Now there are rumours of a European trial with cities such as London, Paris and Madrid mentioned as possible destinations.

Signs of success?
Initial feedback and reviews for the service indicate that Google Express works very well with products delivered locally in 3-5 hours either with free delivery or very inexpensive delivery charges. Several companies have tried this before, most famously Kozmo but they failed because of the high cost of providing the service on low priced items. They obviously didn’t have the might of Google behind them.

The question that arises is whether Google will provide this service at a loss, charge clients a commensurate amount for the service, or find another way to finance it within other elements of their business. There are a wide array of options they could investigate moving forward.  What current retailers need to carefully consider and be ready to move on in the competitive environment, is if Google mines all the data for items shoppers may want delivered in this paradigm and then decides to stock them on their own and fulfil shoppers’ requirements directly.

I guess we’ll find out soon


Mark Griffiths