Google and Amazon in Same-Day Delivery Duel
Google wants to be your same-day shopping delivery firm, stepping up the competition with its huge rival, Amazon. Google is expanding its service to Manhattan and West Los Angeles. Amazon is offering same-day shipping in 12 cities after adding Dallas and San Francisco to its service last week. Google's Shopping Express lets online shoppers order goods at Walgreens, Costco and other retailers and have them shipped to their homes within a time frame of their own choosing. Amazon's service is for its own online sales. In an effort to get shoppers in the habit of using Shopping Express, Google will make no charge for deliveries for the first six months. Then it plans to add a per-store delivery fee.
Speed is a growth area for home delivery. So is hand-selected products for individual shoppers, especially from fashion retailers. "Who doesn't love getting a box of surprises, but without the commitment of having to keep it?" shopping expert Marshal Cohen of NPD Group tells Adweek. The magazine has two examples of "fashion-centric services and how they work." At Le Tote, subscribers pay a $49 monthly fee and submit their sizes and style preferences. Personal stylists select several garments and accessories. These are shipped to the customer who can keep them, choose to buy the goods or send them back. Trunk Club subscribers select what items they want and in which quantity. They have 10 days to decide what to keep or send back.
Amazon wants to make shopping online as easy as a tweet. The online retailer is introducing a service that lets Twitter users add Amazon.com products to their carts without leaving the social media site.
Another big deal has been announced in the rapidly shifting global health care industry. Germany's Bayer plans to buy Merck's nonprescription medicine and consumer care business for $14.2 billion. Merck makes Coppertone sun lotion, Claritin allergy pills and Dr. Scholl's foot-care products. Bayer says the deal would make it the leader in over-the-counter products in North and Latin America. Bayer already has a major nonprescription division whose brands include Aleve, Alka-Seltzer and One-A-Day vitamins. Bayer also makes prescription drugs, industrial materials and farm chemicals.
Federal prosecutors are said to be close to winning a guilty plea from the global bank Credit Suisse. The Justice Department has been investigating allegations the bank helped wealthy Americans evade taxes. The Wall Street Journal reports that a proposed settlement could involve the payment of $1 billion by Credit Suisse. In its quarterly report issued last week, Credit Suisse mentioned the negotiations with the government, saying it was working to bring the tax issue to a close but that "the timing and outcome remain uncertain."
Another high-ranking General Motors engineer is leaving the company in the wake of its delayed recall of small cars with faulty ignition switches. Jim Federico, who most recently headed safety, vehicle performance and testing labs, is retiring after almost 36 years with the company.
Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesnow