For city dwellers with disposable income, the latest offering by same-day delivery service Google Express could spell the end of trips to the grocery store. As of Wednesday, Google will deliver fresh groceries—perishables like eggs and produce—to customers in certain regions of San Francisco and Los Angeles.
For now, Google will deliver from Costco and Smart & Final stores in both L.A. and San Francisco; the company will also service Whole Foods in San Francisco, along with Vincente Foods in L.A. Delivery times are set at up to two hours, so perishables won’t spoil before reaching customers.
For nearly three years, Google Express has allowed customers in select cities to buy and receive products from retail partners within hours of ordering—but until now, the service had not included fresh groceries. Still, Google isn’t breaking new ground: Both Instacart and Amazon already provide similar delivery options. The food delivery space has also proven to be a difficult one to thrive in; as the New York Times reported recently, Instacart and other startups of its ilk have struggled to retain drivers and have laid off many employees to cut back on costs.
Amazon and Google, however, are likely faring better because they have the manpower and financial cushion to absorb any outsize costs associated with food delivery. But it’s possible that in cities with fewer affluent residents, even these companies may struggle to find customers who will shell out for a membership and delivery fees.
A Google Express membership costs $95 yearly, and orders that include fresh groceries must be at least $35; members only pay $3 extra per order for fresh groceries, but other customers will be charged $5.
[via Wall Street Journal]