Amazon's not the only company vowing to get you stuff as quickly as you can order it. Google and Barnes & Noble are teaming up to offer same-day delivery, and they're doing it in Amazon's bread-and-butter books business.
Starting on Thursday, Barnes & Noble customers in Manhattan, Los Angeles, and Silicon Valley will be able to get same-day deliveries of their orders through Google Shopping Express, the company's speedy online delivery service launched last year. All items for sale on Barnes & Noble's site qualify for same-day delivery--provided a local store has inventory in stock.
The partnership will initially include only one store in each location; the Union Square store in Manhattan, the Marina del Ray store in Los Angeles, and the Stevens Creek Boulevard Store in San Jose.
Instead of using warehouses and traditional shipping channels, Google Shopping Express relies on local couriers to physically collect items from local stores, and deliver those products to customers in the area. Barnes & Noble will have a dedicated employee in each store to take online orders and prepare them for a Google rep, who will hand the order off to a courier for delivery.
In addition to Barnes & Noble, Google Shopping Express customers can order from 19 online retailers including Costco, Walgreens, Staples and Target, with orders delivered to their door within three to four hours. The service costs $5 per delivery, per store for those who don't subscribe to Google Shopping Express; it's free for subscribers. Google has yet to announce pricing for Google Shopping Express subscriptions, but the company is offering a six-month free trial membership for those looking to sign up.
Thursday's move is considered to be a test by Barnes & Noble to expand its online reach and bolster store sales, and comes amid declining revenues for the book seller. Interestingly, customers must use the Google Shopping site, not the Barnes & Noble site, to place orders, except in New York City. This will limit the reach to Google Shopping customers, and not customers who already use Barnes & Noble's online store.
Google and Barnes & Noble announced their partnership a day after Amazon expanded its same-day delivery service to 12 markets. Whether Google and Barnes & Noble can take a bite out of Amazon's dominant share of the online book market remains to be seen. If nothing else, at least Barnes & Noble customers in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco will be able to get their hands on The Winds of Winter a little bit sooner.