Nearly a year after rolling out its overnight delivery service in the Chicago area, Google Express is expanding throughout the Midwest, as it looks to gain ground against Amazon and other competitors in the growing battle for market share in rapid delivery.
At the same time, Google Express has abandoned the hub distribution model it was testing in the San Francisco area a la Amazon, opting to go with direct delivery from retail partners. It is also testing out grocery delivery in San Francisco and a second unnamed market.
Google Express offers same-day shipping in seven markets, including Chicago, New York, Boston, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco and northern California. The Midwest expansion includes other areas in Illinois as well as well as parts of Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.
“Our goal with Google Express is to offer a great shopping experience and connect people with their favorite stores,” said the program’s general manager Brian Elliott in a statement. “Today, we’re very excited to be further expanding our efforts, making it easy for over 25 million people in the Midwest to get things they need from stores they love — delivered overnight.”
Elliot took over Google Express in July, after a series of top-level shakeups within the division.
Retailers that Google Express is working with in the Midwest include Ace Hardware, Barnes & Noble, Costco, Kohl’s, Staples, Toys R Us, Ulta Beauty, The Vitamin Shoppe, Walgreens and Wrigleyville Sports. Users can sign up for unlimited delivery for $95 a year or pay $4.99 per delivery.
The Chicago market in particular is heating up in terms of the rapid delivery wars, with Amazon adding three fulfillment centers in the area, Deliv purchasing Chicago service WeDeliver to expand there, and Shyp planning a Chicago beta test soon.