Google tests same day delivery service
The increasingly crowded US e-commerce market became even more crowded last week as the search engine giant Google announced the test launch of its same-day delivery service in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The Google Shopping Express beta program, which will be free for six months, will offer same-day home deliveries from local retailers including Target, Staples, American Eagle, Blue Bottle Coffee and local grocery chain Raley’s Nob Hill Foods.
The announcement comes at a time when the impressive rates of growth in e-commerce in the US are beginning to level off. As well as facing increasing competition from established players, e-tailers will soon become liable to sales tax, thus removing one of their key advantages over traditional retail. These taxes are partly a consequence of perceptions that e-commerce is now relatively mature and thus no longer in need of “protection” as well as a need for states to find new sources of revenue.
Whether Google continues to position itself as a competitor to the likes of Amazon on a long-term basis remains to be seen but the move can be interpreted as part of the ongoing blurring of the line between online and offline commerce.