Google Takes on Amazon, Buys Parcel Pickup Company

Signaling an intent to compete with Amazon in online shopping, Google announced Friday it is buying BufferBox. It’s a startup that runs a parcel storage service similar to Amazon Locker.

Both services let you order online, then deliver your package to a locker in a local store — one that’s open more hours than a post office. Instead of requiring a key, the locker can be opened with a PIN code.

“We want to remove as much friction as possible from the shopping experience, while helping consumers save time and money,” said a Google spokesperson. “We think the BufferBox team has a lot of great ideas around how to do that.”

Indeed, BufferBox has one major advantage over its Amazon counterpart — you can pick up any package in its lockers, including UPS and Fedex. Part of the YCombinator startup class of 2012, the company is currently running a trial service in Canada.

It’s a major coup for the three founders, who work out of a startup incubator in Waterloo — just downstairs from Google’s Canadian offices. They boast a grand total of seven employees. “As online shopping becomes a bigger part of how you buy products, we look forward to playing a part in bringing that experience to the next level,” the trio wrote on the BufferBox blog.

Amazon began testing its Locker service in 7-Eleven stores a year ago. It’s a more widespread rollout — and is about to spread to Staples and Radio Shack stores. But it has one distinct disadvantage: you can only use it for Amazon packages.

Check out BufferBox’s offering in the video below. Is parcel pickup a big enough deal that it can help Google muscle in on Amazon’s territory? And will it succeed? Let us know in the comments.

Please share your comments on  our Facebook page and also follow me on Twitter and Google+
Follow Me on Pinterest


Leave a Reply