In short: Google has announced new partnerships with Nike, Best Buy, and Sephora that will see those retailers products added to its Google Express shopping service. That means that users will be able to access the shopping platform via mobile app, web browser, or via Google's Assistant-enabled platforms to buy products from any of the three companies, with benefits like fast shipping and Google Purchase Protection. However, for the time being, only products from Best Buy and Sephora are available with plans to add Nike later this month.
Background: Google express is essentially an all-in-one shopping service that brings products from a multitude of stores and brands under a single platform for the convenience of consumers. Launched in 2013, there aren't any monthly fees or similar charges to worry about and since the service ships items to buyers from as close as possible, shipping ordinarily only takes between one and three days. That delivery is free after a predetermined minimum amount is spent, usually between $25 and $35, although some stores do arrange their own deliveries and have different ship times and price requirements. Currently, Google Express offers products from hundreds of retailers, including several big box stores like as Walmart, Frys Electronics, and Lowe's. Shopping Actions are a large part of that, allowing users to shop via Google Assistant integration on their smartphone, Google Home devices, or other Assistant-enabled gadgets.
As with previous additions to Google Express, the search giant's Shopping Actions will be available for all three stores but there are some differences between. Those are chiefly based on aspects of the brands. For example, shipping times will differ based on location and some brands bring added perks, such as the membership benefits afforded to Sephora
'clients.' More succinctly, users who participate in Sephora's loyalty program will be able to earn Beauty Insider points and have access to overnight delivery to almost any location within the US through Google Express. So consumers won't be losing the advantages of being a member and will instead have the same benefits they would shopping directly through the store, mobile app, or website. Meanwhile, Best Buy shoppers will be able to use voice actions to store hours or the status of an order that's already been placed via Google Express and voice actions, in addition to being able to place a new order.
Impact: These latest Google Express partners add tens of thousands of new products to the shopping service just in time for the holiday shopping season. However, the addition of Nike takes matters a bit further still and may hold some implications for the future of the service. While several shoe outlets like Shoes.com and Payless are already part of the program, the addition of Nike actually marks the first time a shoe brand has been added directly to Shopping Actions. That will allow Google Express to effectively act as the middleman in transactions taking place between customers and Nike itself. For Nike, that gives the company a wider audience for direct sales without sacrificing the ability to provide NikePlus membership benefits to loyal customers. For Google, the partnership could pave the way for further direct brand inclusions if everything goes smoothly for the sneaker manufacturer