Amazon’s announcement of Amazon PrimeAir got me thinking about the other online shopping and delivery services I use on a regular basis – Amazon Prime, Google Shopping Express, and Walmart To Go. Right now, all of these have shortcomings, and we’re waiting for the universal shopping service – if such a thing exists.
Amazon Prime costs ~$80 annually and delivers free 2-day shipping on any item, plus free video streaming for their (limited and older) catalogue of Prime movies and TV shows. This is great, except it takes two weekdays for delivery (which is still pretty amazing, but not great when I need trash bags right now), and they don’t deliver much in the way of groceries. In particular, they don’t deliver perishables.
Google Shopping Express is free for me (they gave out a lot of free trials), and includes free same-day delivery from a host of area stores. This is super-helpful when it’s helpful – if I need trash bags right now – but the selection is more limited and the user interface isn’t as friendly as Amazon. Plus, the fact that they don’t deliver perishables is a problem. If I need four non-perishable items and a half-gallon of milk, then I’ll have to go to the store anyway, so I might as well just get all my shopping done there.
Walmart To Go is free, as long as I meet the minimum order size of $45. Just about anything at Walmart is available via next-day delivery, including perishables, which is a huge bonus. I love this service, although my wife boycotts it because of a misplaced hatred for Walmart. That causes problems, in and of itself. Also problematic is the minimum order size. But the user interface is laid out very well for weekly grocery shopping, so this definitely has potential.
Writing all this down, I’m struck by two things – how much better Google Shopping Express sounds than it actually is, and why Walmart To Go works so well for groceries.
Those are related issues, and they come down to the user interface. Google Shopping Express has an okay user interface, but it’s a bit of a pain to use, and the navigation isn’t as helpful as Amazon or Walmart. So I use it less.
Walmart To Go, on the other hand, is extremely well-tailored for grocery shopping, in a way that Amazon is not. Amazon has a great interface for finding that one random item I need to buy today, and then not again for months, if ever.
Walmart, on the other hand, has a great UI for taking me through my weekly grocery list, essentially walking me through each category of groceries, so that I can find what I need.
To some extent, this makes me wonder if the future will include more than one e-commerce site, after all.