The Race towards Ambient Commerce

The popularity of online shopping has given companies like Google and eBay the idea to offer personal shopping services. These services provide consumers with the option to shop online and have their products delivered to their house in the same day. This form of consumption has been loosely dubbed “ambient commerce.” On Wednesday, Google announced the launch of their same-day shopping program called Google Shopping Express.

Shopping Express allows people in and around the San Francisco area to shop online and have their products delivered to their homes by couriers. The Google service allows people to shop at multiple stores and pick their delivery time, whereas eBay’s service, eBay Now, only visits one store and delivers within a more rigid time frame.

Offering personal shopping to online consumers is an incredible logistical undertaking. Competitors in this arena will succeed if they can be the fastest, cheapest, and most accessible. Other companies like Amazon and Wal-Mart are interested in expanding delivery services similar to Google Shopping Express and eBay Now. Delivery shopping initiatives are really in the testing phases, only being offered in specific cities. Companies aren’t even sure if this is a doable task. The logistics of wide-scale delivery could potentially make for disastrous roadways and public shopping spaces, rendering the term “ambient commerce” ironic.

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