Google Shopping Goes Overnight

This story has been updated from 1:23 pm EST with comments from a Google spokeswoman.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Google (GOOG) has launched overnight delivery service to shoppers as part of its small, yet growing Google Shopping Express initiative, as it seeks to compete with the likes of eBay (EBAY) and potentially, Amazon (AMZN).

On Tuesday, Google said the overnight shopping service is available in Bay area cities including Berkeley, Concord, Danville, Dublin, Fremont, Oakland, Pleasanton, Richmond, and Walnut Creek. Google will roll out the service in the coming months to shoppers in Northern California "from the California-Oregon border to cities like Fresno and Visalia in the south," and "even customers near Big Sur or Yosemite will be able to get products delivered overnight, Google said in a blog post.

The overnight delivery service expands Google Shopping Express, its same-day local delivery initiative much akin to eBay's (EBAY) delivery service, eBay Now.  Google launched the service last year in the San Francisco Bay area and has since been opened up to shoppers in New York City and West Los Angeles.

Same day delivery is the holy grail for online commerce, and by launching its overnight delivery service to expand upon its already nascent efforts with same-day local delivery, Google is trying to become the be-all, end-all, for online shoppers.

To entice consumers to become members of the delivery service (signing up for a Google Shopping Express account doesn't automatically enroll shoppers as members), Google is offering the first six months free for shipping, with the offering expiring June 30. It's also offering a $10 credit to shoppers for their first purchase via Google Shopping Express. Google says non-members are welcome to order from the site, but will be required to pay $4.99 in shipping for each store from which their order is purchased from. Google hasn't announced pricing for the same-day delivery service once the promotional period expires. 

"Our goal is to connect businesses with their customers and improve online shopping" through things like search ads and Google Shopping, says Google spokeswoman Winnie King. Google Shopping Express is "really about making local shopping easier and helping you get those products from the stores to your doorstep."

Google plans to add additional cities to its same-day delivery service in the near future like expanding its radius in New York City, for instance, to Brooklyn and Queens in the next few months. King said it was too early to talk about additional areas for the overnight service yet.

For overnight delivery, orders need to be placed by 7 p.m. local time to receive it the next day. Once the items are ordered, Google will work with major shipping carriers it says to get the packages to customers' doorsteps.

Google is working with big retailers including Target (TGT), Walgreens (WAG) and Whole Foods Market (WFM), Costco Wholesale (COST), Fairway (FWM) among others for the Shopping Express service. The Internet giant is also working with smaller local retailers in the areas it serves. Google plans to add more stores to the service, it said. Item prices are the same as they are in store and shoppers can add their store loyalty program numbers at checkout.

--Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

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