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Will Google Express compete with Amazon, Bol.com or Coolblue in Europe?

June 8, 2018

What is Google Express? 

Google Express is a (mainly grocery) delivery service by Google since 2013 (!) available in USA. The concept is slightly different from what Amazon, Bol.com or Coolblue offer.


How does Google Express work?

When using the app, people need to select what and from where they want to order, pay for the items, then wait for the purchases to show up on their doorstep within 1 to 3 days. 

The service can also be used through Google Home. Imagine yourself standing in the kitchen and just ordering what you need from a shop like Colruyt, Delhaize or Aldi by speaking to your Google Home. Find out more about Google Home and Voice search on our other article “the use of voice search is rising”.

Google Express on the app store

Image 1: Google Express on the App Store


What makes Google Express different from other online retailers?

The grocery service from Google Express does not require any membership fee like Amazon Prime on Amazon for instance.

Google Express also lets you choose from which online retailer you wish to buy so you can pick your favourite one.

Google Express online retailer

Image 2: Google Express lets you choose your favorite dealer nearby


Could Google Express win the battle for the consumer? 

First, the big boost Google Express has experienced lately was through the launch of their Google Home application. Knowing that Google Home will only become smarter and smarter through their extensive database of search queries, we believe Amazon will fall behind.

In addition, the likelihood that local online retailers will make an alliance with Google Express is very likely. Over the past few years these retailers are desperately looking for online opportunities to sell more but are often failing in reach and technical competence.

These shops even suffer from fierce competition of Amazon, Bol.com and Coolblue.be so they will be more than happy to form alliance with a strong partner like Google.

Apart from the fact that Google can rely on an extensive search query database, it also controls operating systems like android and Google Home. The company also controls other applications like the browser Chrome, where it can follow the consumer nearly anywhere. This is something Facebook and Amazon have a lot less control over.

Finally, Google Express is very much loved by customers because of its ability to deliver local goods from local partners. This is good because in recent years there's been an increase in the amount of local searches. Consumers just love to buy from local retailers they know rather than from a distant online player.


What are the current experiences with Google Express?

Although Google Express has been up and running in the USA for almost 5 years, it does have some disadvantages, which Google better solves as soon as possible. 

According to digitaltrends.com if you’re buying a large amount of groceries or you have very specific dietary needs, you may be better off going to a grocery store and purchasing your groceries in person or using another service.

Moreover, with Amazon Prime, you can buy a box of chocolates, tooth paste and shower gel all in one order. With Google Express, you have to shop by store—and meet the free shipping minimums of each store. So in the case described before, you might have to order from 3 different retailers. If you happen to have any complaints, you'd then consequently have to contact 3 different customer services, one for each retailer. 

According to an article on livehacker.com, Google Express delivers less quickly compared to Amazon Prime which, in some cases, offers 2h delivery. This is especially useful for food items. 


So what’s the conclusion about Google Express?

Google Express definitely has some huge advantages to be a successful player on the online retailer market and might even exploit some annoyances of the consumer or online retailer about the other players like Amazon, Bol.com or Coolblue. 

It has a bigger technical know-how and a stronger interest in the local customer than some of their competition, which can be very beneficial in the future to get the attention of the consumer.

In an earlier paragraph we stated that Google Home or any other smart speaker is a big driver for Google Express. According to voicebot.ai we can see that sales of smart speakers rose in 2017 in the UK (nearly 4 million), Germany (2 million) and, to a smaller extent, France (half a million). 

Nevertheless, it is still early to come to a final conclusion about who will win the battle for the consumer. After all we are still in the early days of online shopping, believe it or not. So this story hasn't come to an end yet. Let’s see if Google Express conquers the world and finally arrives in Europe.



Bart Van Costenoble Bart Van Costenoble
Data Analyst

Data Analysis