“Hey mom, the milkman came and he left milk, eggs, produce, some school clothes, aspirin, printer paper, a new desk chair and some toys. Wow”
I’ve been an Amazon Prime member since it started. I also have a Costco card, Barnes & Noble discount card, CVS card and a Vons’s card. My Amazon Prime membership is my favorite. I love getting things in two days, freight free and at good prices. The internet makes shopping and comparing prices easy and if Amazon has it, then I usually order it. The $60 cost per year is automatically deducted every year and pays for itself with the volume I do with their company.
It looks like the newest shopping gimmick is taking off up here in the Bay area and Google is now providing SAME DAY shopping service delivered to your door. Seriously, Google rolled out “Shoppers Express” back in April with a huge test market of volunteer shoppers all over San Francisco. You can now shop online with Target, Walgreens, Toy R Us, Office Depot, and a huge list of local merchants like Blue Bottle Coffee. Google’s “Shoppers Express” rolls all these stores’ merchandise into a single interface. This means you can order all kinds of disparate merchandise from any of these stores at the same in-store prices and have it delivered the same day. As you ring up your shopping cart you can check when to have it delivered…like “all day today” or “between 4 pm and 6 pm.” It’s delivered promptly at your scheduled time.
Google hasn’t finalized their yearly price for this service but they are hinting it will be in the “amazon prime” range of $60 to$70 per year. Right now the service is free and the folks I know up here love it.
Not to be outdone, Amazon is about to expand their current “Amazon Fresh” service that has been running in Seattle for a few years. Amazon Fresh delivers same day and it includes dozens of restaurants, large grocers, small ethnic markets, fresh seafood stores, butcher stores and bakeries. Unlike Google, Amazon also keeps its own warehouse stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables which allows them to keep a daily freshness record for you when you shop online. For instance, you might need some carrots, lettuce and cucumbers. There is a “radish rating” on every item based on freshness and quality. Your cucumbers may have a “2 Radish” rating but the carrots may be a “5 Radish” rating. The number one complaint is the prices are like “Whole Foods” so that discourages some from the service.
On the other hand, Google maintains the same prices you would pay at Target, Office Depot and the other stores. They take a commission from these stores and any other stores that want to be a part of their service.
No doubt they are both looking at Wal-Mart and finding that Wal-Mart shoppers frequent the store weekly and when they pick up fresh food items, they will also get higher-margin things too. Amazon is also looking at the fact that Wal-Mart sells over 500 billion every year and Amazon sells 60 billion. They want some of that pie.
I remember living in the Bay-area in the late ‘90s when the profit-less WEB-VAN tried to deliver fresh groceries. They lost millions and didn’t last long. It will be interesting to see how the new techno-wizards of Google and Amazon do with their “same day” delivery of just about anything I need. I hope they bring milk too.