Google is now delivering online purchases directly to shoppers in two more U.S. metro areas as it expands its Google Shopping Express services to New York City and West Los Angeles.
The service expansion in New York and Los Angeles was announced by Jenna Owens, the general manager of operations for Google Shopping Express, in a May 5 post on the Google Commerce Blog.
“In New York, we’re starting with service to the entire island of Manhattan with Babies’R Us, Costco, Fairway Market, L’Occitane, Staples, Target and Walgreens,” wrote Owens. “We’re also working to bring Shopping Express to shoppers in Queens and Brooklyn in the coming months.”
The coverage areas for West Los Angeles Google deliveries include Culver City, Inglewood, Marina Del Rey, Santa Monica, Venice, West Los Angeles and Westwood, wrote Owens, where shoppers can buy merchandise from retailers, including Costco, Guitar Center, L’Occitane, Smart & Final, Staples, Target, Toys’R Us/Babies’R Us and Walgreens. “In the coming months, we’ll be expanding delivery to other parts of Los Angeles, Bel-Air, Beverly Hills, Pacific Palisades, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista and West Hollywood.”
In January 2014, Google began testing its fledgling Google Shopping Express same-day ordering and delivery service in the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Monica, where it was initially open only to Google employees. The pilot test in Santa Monica follows a program that launched in March 2013 in San Francisco’s Bay area that has been expanded several times so far.
The Google same-day delivery services bring products to buyers at the same prices they’d find if they visited the stores, wrote Owens. “You can also take advantage of in-store discounts and accrue loyalty points by providing your store rewards card information.”
Customers can browse for the items online, select a delivery time that is good for them, and then receive their orders later that same day, she wrote. They can also place orders using the service’s Android and iOS apps from mobile devices.
Users who want to try the service can get a free six-month subscription with unlimited deliveries in the service areas, she wrote.
In a related post about the first Google Shopping Express services in the San Francisco metro area, Google said that some of the most popular items delivered there have been everyday essentials like toothpaste and toilet paper, as well as heavy or bulky items like canned soup and potting soil. “In fact, in a single day, people around the Bay Area buy enough cat food through Google Shopping Express to feed about 1,500 cats!” according to the post. “While a lot of people are buying everyday essentials, they’re also using the service to buy some rather unexpected items like Sriracha hot sauce and tennis balls, which are among some of the most popular products ordered.”
Residents in other neighborhoods are buying a wide range of other items, according to the post. “For instance, in San Francisco, people in Potrero Hill buy more cereal than any other neighborhood, while shoppers in Bernal Heights buy the most sunscreen. People in The Marina love getting protein powder delivered on the double, while Mountain View shoppers buy the most rock climbing gear. And when it comes to same-day spreads, people in San Jose buy more mayonnaise than any other city while Palo Alto tops the list of Nutella purchases.”
Google Same-Day Delivery Service Now in NYC, West LA
In the San Francisco area, the program began in March 2013 with same-day local deliveries for online orders from national chain stores such as Target, Walgreens, Staples, American Eagle and Toys ‘R Us/Babies ‘R Us, as well as smaller local retailers like San Francisco’s Blue Bottle Coffee, the Bay Area’s Palo Alto Toy & Sport and Raley’s Nob Hill Foods. Later, additional retailers joined the service, including DODOcase, Guitar Center, L’Occitane, REI and Whole Foods Market.
Google jumped into the same-day delivery marketplace as a way to expand more into the turf of online retailer Amazon.com.
Google has been experimenting with e-commerce for a long time, with its Google Payments, Google Wallet and Google Checkout products. In February 2013, Google bolstered its online sales capabilities by acquiring Channel Intelligence, which lets consumers buy products directly through product pages on Websites. One of the company’s products, its Buy Now app, shows potential buyers a dynamically updated list of online retailers that have an advertised product in stock, where the consumer can purchase the item instantly with a click.
Not all those efforts have been successful, however. Last November, Google ended its Google Checkout service. Since its creation in 2006, Checkout had allowed customers to make purchases of services or physical goods from online vendors, but it apparently outlived its usefulness for the search giant because of a lack of satisfactory demand. Instead, Google has been expanding its related Google Wallet payment services that can be used for online apps and other purchases, but not for the payment of physical goods from Websites. The demise of Google Checkout came after the search giant wasn’t able to make it as popular as the dominant online payment vendor, PayPal.
Same-day delivery service certainly isn’t an invention of Google. In October 2009, Amazon launched same-day delivery services in seven major U.S. cities as it expanded its buying options for its customers.
This is not the first time that Google has dabbled with the idea of same-day delivery. The idea has at least been in discussions since late 2011, when the company began its Google Product Search service.