Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is expanding its Shopping Express pilot, which offers same-day delivery services, to Southern California. The program will only be available to several hundred Google employees in Santa Monica, though it could eventually be offered to the general public.
Google launched its same-day delivery service as a test in March 2013, in the San Francisco area. It was initially only offered to Google employees before expanding to the general public in September.
The service offers groceries, office supplies and household goods from about 15 local retailers, including Target, Whole Foods, Costco, Office Depot and Walgreens. Shoppers are able to compare prices at participating retailers and place items into a single online basket. Users pay shipping costs of $4.95 for each retailer from whom they make a purchase, and then select a window of time for delivery. Goods are sent to customers in Google-branded Priuses or via third-party couriers trained by the company.
For now, Google is offering six months of free membership for customers who sign up for the service. The company has yet to reveal how it will price the membership once the trial run concludes.
Google Express Shopping is the latest same-day delivery service to enter a growing segment of the retail market. EBay (NASDAQ:EBAY), Walmart (NYSE: WMT) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) have all launched delivery services in recent years. Most recently, AmazonFresh expanded its same-day grocery services in the California area and eBay brought its eBay Now service to Dallas. Home Depot (NYSE: HD) also said it was gearing up for the launch of a same-day delivery unit and would be investing $300 million to get the program up and running.
-See this Los Angeles Times article
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