Putting Amazon Prime, Google Express to the test

FILE - This June 4, 2014 file photo shows Amazon boxes in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

KNOXVILLE (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. We 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, we 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.Shop on the right day: Several studies show that Sunday is the best day to shop for plane tickets. A study released by Airlines Reporting Coporation found the average plane ticket price on Sunday was more than $70 cheaper than the prices on Monday, the most expensive day.

2.Leave items in your cart: Retailers do not like unclosed deals. Stores that will send coupons or deals the next day include JC Penny, Office Max and Bed Bath & Beyond,

3.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.

4.Get more coupons by creating more email addresses: Stores love to send coupons and deals to your email. Imagine how much money you would save if you got several newsletter copies from multiple email accounts.

5.Compare prices: To prevent overpaying, get the PriceBlink browser add-on. It is available for Chrome, Mozilla, and Safari. The browser saves you time by pulling prices for the same product from a number of retailers.

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