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Wired reports that Costco "is joining the Google Shopping Express same-day delivery service. It’s the highest-profile new partnership for the program since Shopping Express came out of private testing and became available to the San Francisco Bay Area public in September."

The reason for the Google-Costco partnership. As Wired puts it, the rationale can be summed up in one word: Amazon.

Here's how Wired frames the analysis:

"The online retail king chips away at Google in so many markets, whether it’s cloud computing, tablet hardware, or — most significantly — online advertising. Amazon is often the first place people go online to search for products, reducing the need for Google’s ad-laden search engine. One way to fight back is to encroach on Amazon’s primary source of revenue: retail.

"To succeed, Google doesn’t have to overtake Amazon as the dominant online retailer. It only has to muddy perceptions enough that Amazon loses its singular status as the default destination for online shopping. If consumers start associating Google more closely with buying things online, more people will start their product searchers there. And it’s those searches that fill out Google’s bottom line."

In addition to Costco, Target also is a partner in the Google Shopping Express program, which means that Google is doing business with the nation's third and fourth largest retailers.
KC's View:
It isn't just Amazon that is being targeted here … it is virtually every retailer selling the same stuff that Target and Costco sell. Which is why every retailer that fits that definition has to either figure out a way to get into this game, or figure out what differential advantage it has that will keep people coming into the store on an ongoing basis. It seems to me that becoming a destination shopping experience with every passing day is becoming more of a price of doing business.

Personally, I find this fascinating. There are things I buy from Amazon that I used to buy from Costco, but decided to switch over because it saved me the trip to the store and the inevitable lines. But an offering like this might get me to switch back. And I'm not sure what a store would have to offer me to get me to move these categories back to the bricks-and-mortar column…