googleshoppingexpressGoogle is pursuing its "Google Shopping Express" service that promises delivery of your order the next day. The goal of quick delivery is one that's been tried before, and is being rolled out by such other retailers as Amazon. If you think that the power of next day delivery is an unnecessary and superfluous move, you should think again.

The extreme examples of fast delivery are obvious - fast food. But in that case the customer is in control of exactly when the food is delivered because they need to visit the restaurant. From a business perspective, FedEx built its world wide business on next day delivery. Other businesses like Business Cards Tomorrow (my own business alma-mater) specializes in just what its name implies - delivering business cards the next day. And there are countless other businesses that depend on getting the goods to their customers the very next day.

For a company like Google or Amazon, the logistics of bringing the components of an order together in time for next-day delivery would seem to be insurmountable. But unlike Amazon's effort that use the company's existing warehouse and distribution system, Google Shopping Express delivers products from local businesses that are picked up and delivered by Google fleets. 

Sound familiar? It's the grocery delivery service of the early 21st century but built out with more serious finances behind it. Does this put any additional pressure on supply chain issues? For retailers wanting to play with Google in this venture, it would seem the main requirement would be real time inventory and some kind of in-store fulfillment process. Lots of grocery stores already have 'order by phone / pick up at the store' services in place. So they may not have much of a leap to join the party.

But getting listed as one of Google's suppliers may be a challenge for smaller retailers. A look at the current list of stores shows only large retailers are currently signed up. My guess is that we are still very early in the 'get it to me tomorrow' world. Standardized inventory systems can help, but the problems still live within the businesses that don't provide real time inventory. And that's not something that is going to be resolved any time soon.


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