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As Google opened Google Shopping Express to residents of San Francisco and the South Bay area up to San Jose, I thought it would be the perfect time to order something from one of the participating stores.

Do you need same-day delivery? Do you absolutely need to have creamy peanut butter delivered by 9 PM from Whole Foods?

Probably not, but in a city as congested as San Francisco where parking is like hunting for a bail jumper, having your preferred organic apple juice delivered to your overpriced studio apartment in the Mission district is a wonderful option.

How has my experience been with Google Shopping Express?

Actually, it was very easy to use and required no hard work on my part except for maintaining a steady refresh of my Google Shopping Express Chrome tab with my order status.

Limited selection

One of the main problems with Google Shopping Express isn't the number of stores, but the selection.

These are the stores that you can order from:

  • Target
  • Walgreens
  • Toys R Us/Babies R Us
  • Whole Foods Market
  • L'Occitane
  • Blue Bottle Coffee Co
  • REI
  • Dodocase
  • Lucky supermarket
  • Staples
  • Nob Hill Foods
  • Photojojo!
  • American Eagle Outfitters
  • Office Depot
  • Guitar Center

It's a bit of a mix between all the stores. It makes sense for grocery deliveries and Target is a good place to save money on Target-brand goods.

The problem with Google Shopping Express is the selection. The stores don't offer the same items that they can offer in individual online stores or brick-and-mortar locations. Target is a great example. I looked up Iron Man 3 on Blu-ray.

I couldn't find Iron Man 3 on Blu-ray at Target. It's strange that a major retailer like Target doesn't include its current catalog of movies to purchase.

So back in the Google Shopping Express app, I started looking for something cheap to decorate my desk with. My result was the LEGO Ninjago Kai's Fire Mech. I chose this amazing LEGO because it combines two things. It's cheap and it's LEGO.

Ordering

Ordering from the app is simple. When you sign up for the service, you can check if your zip code is supported. Since all of San Francisco is available for delivery, I had the LEGO set delivered to the Softonic office.

I signed up with the current promotion, which offers six months of free same-day delivery. You have to connect a credit card to Google Shopping Express, but if you already have Google Wallet, it it will load the credit card automatically, making check out simple. One of the best options in Google Shopping Express is you can specify a window for delivery, even extending into the next day.

Since I work until 5 PM, I chose the delivery window of 1 PM -5 PM. In the delivery instructions, I added a note to use the building's intercom to call the office. This addition is smart because it enables delivery drivers to know of any possible problems when delivering a purchase.

The order was completed with the Google Shopping Express app at 10:50 AM and I received a Gmail confirmation a minute later.

Then I waited.

The package arrived at the office at 2:24 PM. That's very acceptable considering delivery windows for other carriers can be "until 8 PM" or just a generic "out for delivery" message. Google Shopping Express doesn't give real time delivery details, but it's more than enough to see the status of the order until shipment.

From ordering to physically receiving my package took a little over three hours. That's impressive. I'm curious how well this will work for residents south of San Francisco instead of people working and living in the city.

Room to grow

Google Shopping Express has the potential to be the way people get things from their favorite stores. The limited number of stores and the even more limited items, the majority directed towards grocery, make using the service a hit-or-miss. Google Shopping Express may be angling itself away from Amazon and eBay in the products they are focused on selling, but with those two companies also pushing same-day delivery, it may be a struggle.

eBay also offers products from Toys R Us, Target, Guitar Center, and Walgreens making the choice of Google Shopping Express an option only if you can't find the item or you've missed the order deadline.

The service may be focused less on offering "everything" like Amazon and focusing on products that people need within a certain time frame. Google Shopping Express has a lot of room to grow. It'll be interesting to see what direction the service heads in.

I still have six months to order from Google Shopping Express so hopefully the selection will increase to make it more worthwhile to use.

Commented

18/09/14
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