Google just bought Bufferbox, a Canadian startup which sets up lockers to receive e-commerce shipments. TechCrunch reports the purchase price as $17 million.The deal shows how important e-commerce is becoming to Google’s strategy.
Amazon.com offers a similar locker program for deliveries in certain urban areas, including San Francisco. Goods get delivered to one-time-use lockers, which the buyer opens with a code. After that, the locker can be reused for other deliveries.
Put it together with other moves Google’s making, like testing same-day delivery of online orders in San Francisco, expanding its Google Wallet payments program, and buying Incentive Targeting, a Cambridge, Mass.-based online-coupons startup, and you get a pretty clear picture: Google is targeting its acquisition and innovation efforts solidly at Amazon.
It makes sense when you consider that Google makes most of its money off of searches which express “commercial intent”—the desire to buy something.
Amazon, of course, makes its money the same way—by satisfying its customers’ shopping desires.
E-commerce is still a small portion of the entire retail business. Both Amazon and Google see the way to elevate that as getting goods into shoppers’ hands faster and faster. Lockers are one strategy that gets them part of the way there.