Putting Amazon Prime and Google Express to the test

(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Amazon Prime has a new competitor in the online shopping market: Google Express. Google Express allows shoppers to purchase items from a variety of retailers, like Walgreens, Whole Foods and Bed Bath & Beyond, in one place online. Our Media General sister station WATE in Knoxville, Tenn., ordered the same items on both sites on the same day to see how the prices and delivery time compared.

Before ordering, shoppers can decide to order as a member or non-member. Membership on both Amazon Prime and Google Express free shipping on eligible orders.

It costs $95 dollars a year on Google Express for free shipping. However, for an order to be eligible for free delivery, it has to reach the store minimums before taxes or fees in select delivery areas. Most store minimums are $15. If you are not a member of Google Express, delivery of eligible orders starts at $4.99 from each store you shop.

In comparison, a membership on Amazon Prime costs $99 per year. If shoppers do not order as a member, shipping can cost $8.99 for same-day delivery.

For this test, WATE ordered the same three items on both sites as a member: hairspray, headphones and dog treats. The total on Google Express was $37.10 after shipping costs and taxes were included. The total on Amazon Prime was $43.26 after shipping costs and taxes were included.

Two days after the order, all three items from Google Express arrived. However, only one order from Amazon Prime came. We still had to wait for the hairspray and dog treats from Amazon Prime. Those items came a day later, which was three days after the order was placed.

For the three items we purchased, we found Google Express was cheaper and faster than Amazon Prime as a member.

5 online shopping tips to save you money

  1. Leave items in your cart: Retailers do not like unclosed deals. Stores that will send coupons or offers within a day or two to “seal the deal” include JCPenney, Office Max and Bed Bath & Beyond.
  2. Find a coupon: Online promo codes and paper coupons are a great way to save money. You can find most promo codes on aggregation sites which include Coupons.com, CouponFollow and DealsPlus.
  3. Get more coupons by creating more email addresses: Stores love to send coupons and deals to your email — but not all subscribers receive the same offers. By subscribing under several email addresses, you could have your pick of the best offer (though you’ll have to wade through a lot of duplicates, too).
  4. Compare prices: To prevent overpaying, get the PriceBlink browser add-on. It’s available for Chrome, Mozilla, and Safari and saves you time by pulling prices for the same product from a number of retailers.
  5. Do your homework: A cheaper product isn’t a better bargain if it breaks sooner or doesn’t do what you need or expect. Read product reviews on the retailer’s website or other sites like Amazon.com, ConsumerSearch.com or TestFreaks.com.