Why I won't be renewing Google Shopping Express
I was lucky enough to get into the beta program for Google Shopping Express, and after a few months of having it, I can say with certainty that I won't be renewing my membership when the free trial ends. Instead, I'll continue to use Amazon Prime and buy things in person.
A service that suits none of my needs
The biggest problem with GSE for me is its speed. Someone drives to your home every time you order something and drops that stuff off. This, despite sounding incredibly convenient, is an enormous headache.
- I don't want to schedule the drop-offs. I'm rarely home, and I rarely know when I'll be home from work. I'd imagine that this is more convenient for stay-at-home parents or people that work from home.
- The delivery folks don't have a key to my complex, so unlike UPS/Fedex/DHL/OnTrack deliveries, I have to go downstairs and let the delivery person in so they can bring me my bags of stuff.
- I can't buy things and have them sent to my family outside of the GSE beta areas (a la Amazon's gift featuers).
- Each order requires multiple deliveries, in many cases. Google sources products from multiple retail locations, which means that if you order a box of cereal, a stapler, and a bottle of aspirin you'll possibly end up with a delivery from Target for the cereal, Office Depot for the stapler, and Walgreens for the aspirin. That's three different drivers that need me to come open the door, and three drivers that I need to be at home to receive the packages for.
Part of the last problem is something that I'll give the benefit of the doubt to Google for: they're a new service and they have a small selection. That's the other reason why I won't be renewing my membership, though: there's just not enough stuff. Since you're buying from third party retailers that don't include their full inventories, you end up with deliveries from a hodge-podge of different stores, with Google mixing and matching stores to pair you up with the stuff you want.
In many cases, though, the stuff that you want isn't available at all. Search for protein powder and you'll notice that there are only two well-known brands in the first page of results (EAS and Muscle Milk, neither of which are particularly great). A few weeks ago, I needed twine, but none of the three results were satisfactory.
I admit that the selection is getting better, but it still leaves quite a lot to be desired.
Compare it with Amazon Prime
Some things that I've noticed that I prefer about Amazon:
- Amazon delivers using your existing couriers. UPS and the like deliver to my doorstep rather than the curb.
- You get free streaming with a Prime membership. Google gives you no Play credit or privileges with GSE.
- I don't care if it takes time to get here. I'd gladly wait a week if it means getting the exact brand/quantity that I prefer.
- Amazon is cheaper. Sometimes by a little, sometimes by double-digit percentages.
- Reviews. GSE has very limited review functionality.
- Product data. GSE provides virtually zero information about each product besides the picture, name, price, and a few words of "description" for most items. Amazon has comprehensive data for the overwhelming majority of products.
- Filtering. GSE's filtering support is far inferior to Amazon's. Go ahead and try filtering the Apparel section to separate out kids' clothes from adults', or filter on clothes by time of year (winter coats from short-sleeve shirts).