Things are heating up in the online shopping world, as Amazon, Apple and Google step up their game to compete for online business. According to the Washington Post, last week Amazon announced that its Prime customers will get free same-day delivery on qualifying orders over $35. Members must ship items to an eligible zip code within one of 14 metro areas, and they must place orders before noon to receive same day delivery.
The same day Google announced a new payment system called Android Pay, where customers can pay for purchases with their credit or debit cards using their smartphones. Google is also adding a “buy button” to websites to make it easier to purchase products featured in paid product listings, making it easier for online and mobile shoppers to make purchases.Last week we reported eBay’s new free shipping program in Germany, available in certain parts of the country. The program is expected to expand by the end of the year. Two weeks before that Wal-Mart announced its new, unlimited shipping subscription service for $50 a year, a $99 savings over Amazon Prime.Insider Take:Why all the new services and features? Competition. Big online retailers are looking for ways to better capture the mobile market and to grow customer loyalty by offering them VIP treatment like free same-day shipping. Some like Amazon and Wal-Mart are doing it using an annual subscription model, while others like Google are adding bells and whistles to attract the attention of Millennials willing to try new technology.To keep up with the competition, or to lead the pack, subscription companies can learn from the big name retailers who are taking big risks and banking on the long play. Smaller companies can also learn what features and services most appeal to its prospects and customers by testing various features. Who – and what – will be next?