As a millennial, I’m naturally very lazy and spoiled. Unlike my grandparents, I don’t have to walk five miles uphill both ways to get to the grocery store (in a blizzard, no less!)

Normally, I still do the whole brick-and-mortar grocery store thing, since I live in the city and can make the 10-minute walk there from my apartment. Maybe it’s the fact that I work in market research, but I also like to peruse the shelves for the latest products from brands I work with and know.

Redefining Online Shopping

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There are a ton of grocery delivery services out there, but I’ve not become loyal to anything yet. I discovered Instacart during the Polar Vortex, at which time it was a godsend for me in Chicago, but haven’t used it much since. I know of Amazon’s Prime Pantry but haven’t used that since I live by myself and don’t have a need for frequent or automatic re-orders. However, I recently used Google Express for the first time, which is out of character for me, but I got a coupon so I went for it.

Compared to those other platforms, Google Express is definitely the underdog, but the biggest redeemer of the service is its use of club memberships and loyalty cards with direct retailers. Like many Chicagoans, I don’t have a car and rely on public transit/Uber/bumming rides from friends, so Google Express offers a unique benefit for me as a card carrying Costco member. I love Costco a lot, I would get married at Costco, but it can be rough only being able to buy as much as I can haul home in a backpack when I go there.

Because Google Express carries Costco products at their usual Costco prices, I can get as many 3lb boxes of microwave popcorn (…and multi-vitamins? I won’t pretend I bought vitamins) as I want and have them delivered overnight for $5 shipping. As a Google Express member you can get free shipping, but considering that taking an Uber home from Costco would cost more and take more time, $5 is pretty good too.

Where does everyone stack up?

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In the ever-expanding world of delivery services, Amazon still reigns supreme in many ways. Google Express is limited to select areas of the U.S. and doesn’t have the breadth of products that Amazon offers. Like Instacart, Google Express also employs drivers who do the actual shopping at retailers and then deliver those items on to customers, unlike Amazon’s more streamlined fulfillment center model.

On a broad level, it will probably take more than car-less, urban Costco lovers to make Google Express viable, but as long as the delivery system continues to target club members and loyalty card holders in their offerings, there’s still a unique opportunity to offer value (literally and figuratively) in ways that differentiate the service from Amazon.

Though I’ll still head directly to Costco for important things, like new glasses and Saturday afternoon samples.

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