Is Google looking to expand beyond final-mile delivery?

What other vehicles will Google Express add to its fleet?

In recent weeks, Google has been doubling-down on its retailing efforts, most visibly through a strategic partnership with Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com which aims to develop new e-commerce products and services for global markets.

As part of the agreement, Google is expected to draw on JD’s supply chain expertise to expand its e-commerce businesses. Back at home in Silicon Valley, newly-created jobs suggest, however, that Google is serious about beefing-up the logistics capabilities of its domestic commerce units as well.

While the investment in JD.com was partially for the purpose of enhancing Google Shopping, the company’s other e-commerce platform Google Express, which is currently only available in the United States, is also on the hunt for supply chain brains. Google Shopping functions essentially as a search engine for the vast-majority of products available from non-Amazon merchants, and leaves fulfillment and delivery to the merchant. Google Express, meanwhile, is a shopping platform for US-based consumers that lists products from a select variety of merchants such as Walmart, Target and Frys, with last-mile delivery services coordinated by Google.

If two new positions at Google Express are any indicator, however, the platform’s fulfillment and delivery models are still open to revision. Requisitions for head of supply chain, and head of logistics operations both echo the unit’s objective to increase the speed and reliability of product deliveries. More concretely, the future head of logistics operations for Google Express will be called upon to “design, prototype and test next-generation e-commerce delivery experience.” On the supply chain side, a key requirement is to “Determine buy strategy for all services in the supply chain and determine how far up the supply chain Google should be making its purchases.”

Although there has been no explicit discussion of airfreight, we note that e-tailers in competition with Google Express, such as Amazon, clearly see the mode of transportation as a necessary component of its domestic e-commerce fulfillment strategy. Cargo Facts would not be surprised if Google Express were to reach a similar conclusion as it looks to enhance its ability to over same-day deliveries.

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