MOUNTAIN VIEW -- Bay Area shoppers have their choice of same-day delivery services, and many are using them to buy everything from rock climbing shoes to baby food.
Seven months after Mountain View-based Google publicly unveiled its same-day delivery service, the Internet giant on Thursday released data to show how people in the Bay Area are using Google Shopping Express, a service that many retail experts have contended would never be successful.
And Google isn't alone in its effort to master a business that delivers toilet paper or toothpaste to a consumer's home within a few hours and for just a few dollars. On Thursday, Amazon announced same-day delivery service in San Francisco through a new "Get It Today" feature on Amazon.com.
Amazon has been slowly expanding its same-day delivery program since 2009, but service had been limited to a handful of cities on the East Coast. In December, the retail giant launched its on-demand grocery delivery service, AmazonFresh, in San Francisco, after testing it for about seven years near Amazon's hometown of Seattle.
This latest expansion of same-day delivery services -- a market that also includes eBay and Walmart -- suggests that tech-centric Bay Area consumers are willing to do more mobile shopping and more accustomed to on-demand services, such as San Francisco-based ride-sharing app Lyft or Palo Alto-based restaurant delivery startup DoorDash.
Consumers accustomed to transacting business on mobile devices have an attitude of "I want what I want when and where I want it," said Jamie Gutfreund, an e-commerce expert with the Intelligence Group. "They have completely integrated "digital" into their world; it's no longer a thought as in 'I'm going online.' So the companies that can deliver speed and efficiency are best positioned for success."
Google says consumers are starting to replace daily and weekly trips to the supermarket or drugstore with same-day delivery. San Francisco residents are getting cereal, mouthwash and protein powder delivered by Google Shopping Express Priuses; Menlo Park residents are buying candy and desserts from Google and San Mateo residents are getting their daily coffee fix through Google Shopping Express, according to the search giant's data. Some consumers are even turning to on-demand delivery for big purchases -- Mountain View residents are using the service to get rock climbing gear delivered in a three to five hours, according to Google.
Google Shopping Express, which became available to about 88 ZIP codes in the Bay Area in September, lets consumers shop online from about 17 retailers, including Walgreens, Nob Hill Foods, Staples, Blue Bottle Coffee, Target and Toys R Us. Google will deliver the purchases that day within a three- to four-hour window. The cost is $4.99 for each store pickup.
Through the new Amazon delivery service, shoppers can browse the website for movies, video games, travel items, and household and office supplies, and some items will be available for delivery in San Francisco that day -- but they must be purchased before 12:15 p.m.
Some experts say the business model is flawed because neither the consumer nor the company wants to pay for the full cost of delivering low-margin products from big-box and drugstores, and a $5 fee doesn't come close to covering expenses.
"Google is subsidizing same-day delivery," said Sucharita Mulpuru, an e-commerce expert at Forrester Research. "In general it's not cost-effective to deliver something like diapers. ... Store pickup is a better option in the U.S."
Contact Heather Somerville at 510-208-6413. Follow her at Twitter.com/heathersomervil.
Most common purchase by city:
Most popular days for orders:
Sunday and Monday
Other popular orders for delivery:
Sriracha hot sauce, toothpaste, potting soil, tennis balls, soup