Google Inc. (GOOG) recently announced that it has acquired a Canadian start-up company BufferBox, which provides lockers to receive e-commerce shipments. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Waterloo, Ontario-based BufferBox provides all online users with temporary lockers from where they can retrieve packages ordered online. The company offers an automated, self-serve parcel pick-up station as a locker, which is a more convenient shipping alternative to home delivery. The company has its storage lockers in and around Toronto.
To avail the locker service, users will have to sign up to receive a BufferBox shipping address, which is then provided to online merchants. On the arrival of the package to one of BufferBox's self-serve kiosks, the user receives an email that has a single-use PIN. At the time of collecting the package, the user needs to provide the PIN to access the locker.
Google is a market leader in online advertising and it has been exploring various ways to increase its revenue and fight competition. The company has stepped up its efforts in the e-commerce space. In June, the company announced that retailers will now have to pay for space on Google Shopping service in a bid to strengthen its position against major online retailer Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN).
The BufferBox deal shows that e-commerce is becoming an important part of Google's strategy. The acquisition will enable Google to better compete with the likes of Amazon by giving its customers a better shopping experience. The service will save time for customers and also prevent theft or mismanagement of goods.
Amazon already offers a similar locker facility for deliveries in certain urban areas, including San Francisco. The company has storage units for its Locker service at grocery and convenience stores like 7-Eleven. Recently, it also signed deals with Radio Shack and Staples to install its lockers at their stores. Though Google is the leading search engine provider, it still lags online retail giants Amazon and eBay Inc. (EBAY) in terms of shopping-related searches.
The Internet search engine provider is on an acquisition spree. The company continues to pick up smaller companies with specialized technology to boost its different offerings. Just last week, the company acquired an online marketing startup company Incentive Targeting Inc. to enable consumers to buy premium goods and services at lower prices. In September, Google acquired start-up VirusTotal to beef up protection for its Internet services and Nik Software, a 17 year old company, which specializes in advanced photo editing
Google has done well in the third quarter, with its gross revenue touching a record $14.10 billion. Revenues, from both Google-owned and partner sites, continued to grow in double digits on a year-over-year basis. Historically, Google has always fared better than Yahoo Inc (YHOO), which has been struggling to uphold itself and Microsoft (MSFT), which is yet to gain critical mass.
However, legal entanglements related to competitive matters or patent infringements remain an overhang. Currently, Google retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
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