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 Google Express vs Amazon Prime: which on-demand service is the most promising

Off to the races we go!

Written by Stacy Zolnikov | NJ Tech Meetup Member & serial technophile.

East Coast it’s time to rejoice! Why?

Because we’re all lazy and have zero patience. A couple weeks ago, Google Express announced they are expanding their services to the Northeast to include Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia, making the total U.S. population who has access to it at 75%. Well, technically, Google Express has been in New York City, Chicago, Boston and Washington D.C. since 2014 but let's not get nitty-gritty.

What’s Google Express?

It’s basically the same thing as Amazon Prime and Amazon Fresh but with a wider variety of merchant suppliers. They offer same-day delivery from your favorite local stores like Costco, Whole Foods and Guitar Center...because let's be real, if you’re going to be buying a $900 guitar you better get it right away. Reportedly, Target was one of the merchants but I'm almost certain it’s just a rumor. 

Yeah, I’m super bummed too. That means we'll still have to physically go to Target and spend not only a superfluous amount of hours but also an entire paychecks worth of money when all you really needed were some hangers and maybe a cherry ICEE (don’t act like you don’t get them either).

Google Express hopes to provide a better and faster online shopping experience than Amazon Prime. Because sometimes fast just isn’t fast enough. But they have a long way to go. Amazon Prime, having over a decade of proven strategies and business models, is the main player in the on-demand shopping arena and whether Google Express can take the reign will vary on a few factors.

One. It’s leadership.

They’ve already had three executive changes. Tom Fallows, the creator and lead executive of Express left Google for Uber last November (yay Uber!). Fallows is kind of really super freaking awesome so whether his departure is indicative of Express's future is something we're all staying in tune for.  Shortly after his departure, head of Google commerce, Sameer Samat (also a genius) left for Jawbone. Now, Victoria Ransom and Brian Elliott lead up the team in hopes of gaining some ground in the market. Elliot, having built companies in e-commerce and SaaS, seems promising.

Two. Branding.

Instant delivery is practically synonymous to Amazon. We hear Amazon and we think online shipping and quick delivery. Google is different. Google is a search engine giant with an enormous ecosystem. But an ecosystem most people aren’t familiar with. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Google fanatic! From its robust search functionality to its elegant material design in app development, I know and appreciate everything Google has developed. But for most, the name association of e-commerce is not quite there yet. 

Three. Infrastructure.

Amazon already has its fulfillment centers. Google, on the other hand, works with retail partners to deliver products from those physical stores. There are even discussions with Postmates.

Four. Investment.

Amazon Prime and Amazon Fresh is already well established and investing in new products and offerings. Google Express still has to get it’s foot on the ground and come up to par before branching out. Nevertheless, Google Express does have a few advantages in their favor. With their self driving cars and ad implementation, merchants may have an incentive to work with them. The market is huge and investing in the long term is Google’s best bet for Express to succeed.

Whether you choose to use Google Express or Amazon Prime really depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for products from specific merchants like Whole Foods or Bed, Bath & Beyond, Express is the way to go. But if you’re looking for more options, Prime all the way.

I’m a pretty faithful Prime user but I also love everything Google so for me, it’s a toss up. The ideal platform would have a clean UI, an abundance of options, unfavored reviews, and cost the least. Express, in my opinion, has the better UI....but, Prime has more options. 

So what’s the verdict?

No idea. I’ll think about it on my walk to the grocery store.