BUFFALO, N.Y. - Google Express has officially launched in the Queen City, which means as of Wednesday, anyone can sign up for the online ordering service.
It's a lot like Amazon Prime.
Google Express is a website and a smartphone app where you can pay an annual membership fee to a get more simplified way of shopping.
"They will frighten Amazon, they are going to frighten many retailers with this opportunity,” said Sue McCartney, director of the Small Business Development Center at Buffalo State.
Google Express promises deliveries in two days.
McCartney with Buff State's Small Business center says it's a kind of on-demand service targeted at millennials, specifically, anyone 40 years of age or under.
"These are people who want things instantly, quickly, and are very well trained as online consumers,” she said.
Google Express has already partnered with grocery stores, including Whole Foods, a cross between Wegmans and Trader Joes that Western New Yorkers don’t have.
It’s also partnered with some corporate chains like Road Runner, which sells comparable running products to those sold at Fleet Feet Sports, a local business in Buffalo and Rochester.
"When it comes to competition, my minds is you always need to look at competition and see what's going on,” said Ellen Brenner, owner of Fleet Feet.
Brenner isn't too worried about a service like Google Express delivering sneakers for the Buffalo Marathon to people's front doors.
Fleet Feet launched online shopping a year ago for customers who prefer to shop online or for those who don’t live close to an actual store.
Brenner says it's an added convenience for customers, but she believes good customer service will always bring people back to a brick and mortar store.
"You get the experts, the knowledge, the time that our fitters take to help the individuals” said Brenner.
That's why McCartney believes this online ordering service will not hurt small businesses.
"Based as it stands right now, this type of business activity with Google is not a direct threat to them,” she said.
"Truly nothing can compare to being in a store and working with a live person who has the knowledge,” said Brenner.
You can join Google Express with your Gmail account if you want, or sign up for it if you don't have one.
It costs $95 dollars a year for that membership, but if you don't want to commit that much, you can pay as you go; that way is $4.99 per purchase.