Judging from the recent buying frenzy that Google's been on that makes Black Friday look like a celebration of thrift by comparison, there’s been little evidence that Google may be plotting a new move into the commerce product market. Its most recent acquisition, BufferBox, makes that suggestion just a little more forceful than some may have expected.
Google's acquisition of BufferBox, a company working out of Ontario with locations throughout North America, gives Google access to a service that allows customers to order a product online and then have the package sent to a central holding facility for pickup later. Customers can rent what amounts to a locker at the facility where their physical goods are held, which is fairly similar to Amazon's Locker Delivery service.
Exact terms of the deal weren't disclosed, so drawing a conclusion based on said purchase requires a little bit of mental gymnastics. Based on remarks from the BufferBox team on their blog, however, which said that they “look forward to playing a part in bringing that experience to the next level,” and that it would be “business as usual for our users,” it does make some suggestions of its own.
Google recently picked up another firm, Incentive Targeting, which focuses on coupon marketing. So now, not only does Google have its hands on a coupon provider and a place to store items bought online for later, but it also boasts an incredible product selling venue via Google Shopping. And, of course, Google Play, they may well have a complete top-to-bottom retailer in the works. Of course, it may be overstating the case to suggest that Google wants to go full online retailer; they may in fact be looking to simply offer their services to pre-existing retailers.
Not only can the company offer inducement to show up for deals, but Google can also offer a safe and likely temperature-controlled location to ship said goods. No need to worry about chocolate melting in the summer or electronics getting damaged by the cold in winter; users can safely pick up their goods, bought at a slight discount, most anywhere.
There are a variety of possibilities involved with the BufferBox deal, but one thing's quite clear; it's looking like Google's out to make yet another expansion. Whether that's good for customers or not remains to be seen, but the possibilities certainly suggest good things to come.
Edited by Allison Boccamazzo