Google’s answer to Amazon Prime launches in Maryland

By Aarthi Rayapura September 28, 2016

Aiming to muscle into e-commerce giant Amazon’s turf, Google is expanding its online shopping and delivery platform into Maryland and much of the East Coast.

The expansion is part of a push to make Google Express available nationwide by the end of the year. The service, which launched in select cities in 2013, expanded to 16 states earlier this year and on Wednesday added 13 more.

“Our mission, broadly, is to connect customers with merchants they love and vice versa,” said Brian Elliott, general manager of Google Express.

The move comes as Amazon Prime, with its members-only benefits and same-day delivery, gains popularity and draws away shoppers — and advertisers — from Google, analysts said.

“They’re trying to protect their ad base, of course, because they’re getting crushed by Amazon,” said Howard Davidowitz, a retail analyst and founder of Davidowitz & Associates Inc. in New York City.

Google’s search engine used to be the first stop for people surfing the web for a good deal. But as Amazon Prime solidifies the online retailer’s reputation for can’t-beat offers, more shoppers are turning directly to Amazon to search for products, he said.

With Google Express, Google aims to win back shoppers, though the task won’t be easy.

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And read Zuora CEO Tien Tzuo’s views on Amazon’s other retail competitor, Walmart here.