Google Just Boosted Delivery’s Visibility
Google added an “Order Delivery” button to its search function, allowing customers to summon meals from their favorite restaurants, which can be delivered through Postmates, DoorDash, Delivery.com, Slice and ChowNow with more providers being added soon. By reducing a tiny amount of friction for hangry consumers, integration of delivery into Google’s search, maps and voice assistants could bring a new wave of later-adopters into the food-on-demand ecosystem.
Being able to order your favorite meal by saying “OK, Google ...” is novel, but the “Order Delivery” button on its search and maps products is a far bigger deal, and introduces the global tech giant as an immediate, major player in the meal delivery space.
The announcement came from Anantica Singh, Google’s senior product manager of food ordering, who presented the news through a personal story of easier ordering when she was pregnant with her son. “Lucky for me, I didn’t have to jump into the car and go to my favorite restaurants to get my fill—food delivery services saved my bacon on more occasions than I’d be comfortable admitting to the world.”
She added that motherhood made ordering delivery a more regular occurrence at home. Now, with its latest move and accompanying blog post, Google says the integration is all about making it easier to get food delivered to your door.
The company’s logic holds up, as greater visibility like the TV ad buys from Taco Bell-Grubhub has greatly increased the visibility of delivery, including with a new crop of consumers who have yet to try out one of these newfangled delivery services.
Trying the experience from myself, I keyed in a restaurant near my house that does big delivery numbers. After the search loads, there’s a bright blue “Order Delivery” button on the right-hand column, just below the map, restaurant photos, hours, last visit and Google reviews. Below, an ad states that the delivery is available through Grubhub, but clicking to start the delivery brought me into my DoorDash account.
It’s largely the same pulling the restaurant up on my phone’s Google Maps app: below the ratings, hours and distance away, there’s now a button to get the delivery rolling. After verifying my delivery address, I’m dumped into a new window. I’m not sure how often I will actually use this as I’m conditioned to start my hunger quests in the provider I’m interested in trying, but the behavior of everyday consumers is likely to be impacted by this new high-vis option.
The Wells Fargo consumer survey in this issue of sister publication Food On Demand showed that 28 percent of regularly delivery customers only ordered once during the studied month. That’s major whitespace for growth in the months ahead, underscoring the rationale behind the latest round of investor cash infusions.
I’m not the earliest of adopters—I still use a Hotmail account after all—but I’ve been using restaurant delivery services from the moment they became available in Minneapolis. As I explain my job and adventures in this world, I’m still struck by the number of friends and family members who haven’t yet taken the plunge. The masses are still up for grabs.