All Signs Point to Marketplace
After its foray into the world of e-commerce with Google Shopping, Google’s only logical step forward is making a move into online marketplaces. In the Vertical Rail offices, we’ve thrown around the idea of Google using its comparison shopping engine as a platform for growing and developing in that area, and it looks like things are moving along more quickly than anyone anticipated.
This week, Google launched a limited same-day delivery service in the San Francisco Bay Area (take that, Amazon Prime!). Named Google Shopping Express, this service offers shoppers unlimited same-day deliveries from participating retailers such as Target, Staples, Toys R Us, Babies R Us, Office Depot, Blue Bottle Coffee Company, American Eagle Outfitters, Raley’s, Nob Hill Foods and more.
Google Shopping Express puts the search engine giant in almost direct competition with marketplace programs such as Amazon Prime, Walmart To-Go and eBay Get It Fast.
Amazon, Walmart and eBay have a few advantages for the time being; they all possess a strong marketplace reputation, brand recognition, and established distribution systems. Google should not be considered a new player in the game, however, because it doesn’t have to build from the ground up. Google is a household name, has local search data that it can use as a springboard for its ordering and delivery systems, and, with its acquisition of Channel Intelligence, possesses a stockpile of e-commerce transaction data.
So what exactly is Google trying to accomplish with its test program? Office brain, Aaron B., suspects that Google is using the pilot as a way to test shipping methods, work out kinks in its local shopping systems, and see what it will take to make a decisive move into the marketplace world.
Is Google poising itself for a marketplace takeover? It isn’t so much speculation any more. With all the e-commerce activity surrounding in Google’s projects, I would venture to say that a brand-spankin’ new marketplace is in short order.
What do you make of Google’s e-commerce activities? Chime in below!