Wx_Facebook_Google-vs.-AmazFor years, Amazon has been viewed as the cream of the crop when it comes to fast, dependable delivery. With their pristine reputation, more and more larger brands integrated their products into the Amazon shopping feed and innovations like Amazon Prime made online shopping more and more common.  However, Amazon’s reign at the top has a formidable challenger as Google now has their own plans to dominate the online shopping space with Google’s Shopping Express.

Google’s Shopping Express is only available in limited areas as it currently services Manhattan and Los Angeles. The catch with the service is that Google Shopping Express will make same day deliveries of the products ordered. Big retailers like Target, Walgreens and Babies R’ Us are integrated into Google Shopping Express and thus far the demand has been overwhelming. So overwhelming, in fact, that the Manhattan delivery service needed to cut short the day and stop making deliveries due to high volume.

Overall, I see this as one of the best moves that Google has made in some time. It has intrinsic value that provides immediate revenue. Google has the power of their own search engine to promote this service and while Amazon is testing drones for immediate deliveries, Google is in fast motion with this new initiative. This ability to order and receive items on the same day has already begun to change the landscape of online shopping.

I predict a day where retail stores become less and less visible and are primarily just locations for people to compare products they want to purchase before ordering them online. Yes, in most cases, those purchases will be made through mobile devices – and, obviously, the deliveries will be made the same day.

While I think there is enough room for both Amazon and Google to exist in this fast growing marketplace, over time, I expect each service will become exclusive providers of product for different retailers. This ability would enable both companies to prosper, and force consumers to utilize both options based on what product they wish to purchase.

With the 2012 Holiday shopping season officially beginning on Black Friday, consumers have begun to seek out product reviews and price comparisons in order to find the best deals for this year’s “must have” items and according to recent market research conducted by Adobe, search engines and social media will be the most effective tools for shoppers this season.

Adobe Black Friday ResearchGraphic courtesy of Adobe Digital Index

The Adobe study indicates that 2012 will break retail records in its final months, with $2 billion in sales forecasted for Cyber Monday alone and a total of $96 billion in online sales expected between now and the end of December.  The driving forces behind these huge numbers are search engines and social media.  With an estimated 24% of all holiday sales coming from mobile devices, it is apparent that tablets and smartphones will also play an instrumental role in sales this season and going forward.

Surprisingly, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not the only significant days for shoppers this season.  Free Shipping Day, which takes place on Dec. 17th this year, is expected to generate millions in last-minute sales for online retailers.

With millions of shoppers worldwide using Web search, social media and mobile devices this year, it is crucial for retailers to enhance their online presence and visibility in order to capitalize on what looks to be the biggest season in retail history.  This season will also be important to SEOs, as various retailers will increase their emphasis on Internet marketing initiatives in order to gain more traction online and compete with retail giants on the Web.

Have you read Dan Heinkel’s recent post about Holiday shopping apps?  If not, check it out here and as always, feel free to reach out to me at brymshaw@webimax.com or on Twitter: @brwebimax.