Google (News - Alert) has its collective fingers in a lot of different pies these days, but one of the newest reports indicates that Google wants to bulk up its presence in online shopping, and has an eye to take over Amazon Prime by offering up a service that offers same-day delivery on a subscription basis for less than Amazon Prime.
The reports indicate that one of Google's e-commerce product managers, Tom Fallows, will be handling much of the project, and it's geared as a way to focus Google's various shots at e-commerce, which are at this point somewhat diffused, with Google Shopping and Google Wallet both involved but somewhat separate from each other. Current word indicates that the service will be priced between $64 and $69 a year--$10 to $15 less than Amazon Prime is currently running—and will offer same-day delivery from a variety of brick and mortar operations like Walmart, Walgreens and Safeway, though the specific stores involved in the initiative aren't quite clear as yet.
Google has a distinct advantage that it can offer to all these big names, in that it's overwhelmingly clear that, for many people, Google is the first place a lot of potential buyers turn when it comes to looking for certain products. The issue, though, is that people seldom stay on Google to make those purchases once they've finished getting information, and that's a development that Google would doubtlessly like to change.
Given Google's recent purchase of BufferBox and Channel Intelligence, it would seem that Google means to get a little more of a toehold in the real world. BufferBox's focus on order fulfillment coupled with Channel Intelligence's marketing features might be exactly what Google needs to set up a rapid delivery system in a wide variety of places. Considering that many of these places would likely have several different physical locations of stores already in place, Google would be almost aggregating these vendors into one convenient Google Bazaar of sorts. Amazon, at last report, has even been testing something similar, adding credence to the overall idea.
However, there's one critical point at which Google simply falls down on the job, at least in the short term. While indeed, Google would beat out Amazon Prime in terms of cost, there's one point where Amazon beats Google under this current incarnation: Amazon Prime Instant Video.
See, for Amazon, it's not just about the cheap, fast shipping. It's also instant access to Kindle Books. It's also a huge array of movies and TV shows available, Netflix-style, under one roof. Google's saving $10 to $15 a year, but is that going to be enough to get users in the door where, for just $10 to $15 more per year, users can get that shipping and the video and the e-books? Google's going to be hard pressed to keep up the value proposition in light of Amazon's offering.
Google's shopping service is an interesting possibility, though one that may take a while to fully emerge and fill us in. It's also a possibility that bears closer examination, and may well be coming our way sooner than we expect.
Edited by Brooke Neuman