Titans Amazon and Google are battling for your delivery business.
Tuesday, Google announced it is extending its online shopping and delivery service to South Florida as part of a major expansion across the Southeast and Northwest. With the increase, Google Express will reach 70 million more people, the company announced Tuesday.
The expansion is part of a push to make Google Express Express available nationwide by the end of the year. The service, launched in select cities in 2013, announced expansions to 16 states earlier this year and 13 more in the Northeast last month before making Tuesday’s announcement.
The company said Tuesday that Google Express delivery service’s coverage area now will include Florida, Kentucky, Utah, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. Last month, it expanded across wide swaths of the Northeast and New England, said Brian Elliott, general manager of Google Express.
Google Express aims to makes it easy for shoppers to get the things they need in one convenient place, from multiple stores, said Elliott. Shoppers in Miami can use Google Express to order goods online from a variety of stores using the Google Express desktop site or via smartphone app and receive two-day delivery; select retailers will offer one-day service, Elliott said.
The service will compete with Amazon’s Prime Now. The major difference is the number of participating retailers. Google's Florida partners include Costco, Whole Foods, Kohl’s, PetSmart, Road Runner Sports, Sur La Table, Fry’s, Walgreens, L’Occitane, Payless ShoeSource and Guitar Center. More retailers will be continually added to the service, Elliott said.
The move comes at a time when increasing numbers of shoppers are turning to Amazon first. According to survey last month, more than half (55 percent) of U.S. online consumers now begin their product searches on Amazon’s website or mobile app, up from 44 percent last year. Google saw a decline of people starting searches on its search engine, according to the annual survey by the Internet marketing firm BloomReach.
After placing an order with Google Express, customers can specify a delivery window — either next-day, two-day, or even same-day service for certain orders.
Google charges a $95 fee for a yearly Express membership that offers free delivery, similar to Prime Now, but people can also opt for a pay-as-you-go shopping cart with a minimum $4.99 charge per order. People can also try the membership free for three months, Elliott said. For more information about Google Express, visit google.com/express or download the app.
With the expansion, Google Express is available to about 90 percent of the U.S., Elliott said, but Google declined to share membership or delivery numbers.