Google Express Expands Across Southeast, Northwest

Google Express
Titans Amazon and Google are battling for your delivery business.

On Oct. 25, Google announced it is extending its online shopping and delivery service across the Southeast and Northwest. With the increase, Google Express will reach 70 million more people, according to the company.

The growth is part of a push to make Google 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 the Oct. 25 announcement.

The company said 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, Google Express General Manager Brian Elliott said.

Google Express' goal is to makes it easy to shop in one convenient place, Elliott said. Shoppers 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. For example, 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 a survey last month, 55% of U.S. online consumers begin their product searches on Amazon’s website or mobile app, up from 44%t last year. Google saw a decline of people starting searches on its search engine, according to the annual survey by internet marketing firm BloomReach.

After placing an order with Google Express, customers can specify a delivery window — 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 opt for a pay-as-you-go shopping cart with a minimum $4.99 charge per order. Also, the membership can be trried for free for three months.

With the expansion, Google Express is available to about 90% of the United States, Elliott said, but Google declined to share membership or delivery numbers.