United States retail giant Walmart announces voice-activated shopping tie-up with Google

Tammy Harvey
August 24, 2017

The above is obviously a move to counter a similar service from Amazon and its Alexa's voice controlled assistant that enables users to order products from Amazon by simply speaking to the Echo range of speakers.

Beginning in late September, Walmart will have hundreds of thousands of items available onboard for voice-activated shopping functionality via Google Assistant. According to Google, users can also receive unique recommendations based on their order histories when they link their existing Walmart.com account with their Google Assistant. In related news, Google Express said it will now offer free delivery across its retailers as long as the order is above each store's minimum threshold.

And Google continues to build in new features to its Google Home platform in efforts to compete with the Amazon Echo, which now dominates the market.

Walmart envisions shoppers ordering by voice through Google Home.

The integration with Walmart goes deeper than any current retailers on the Express platform - Google's head of commerce Sridhar Ramaswamy called the partnership "the first of its kind".

"We know this means being compared side-by-side with other retailers, and we think that's the way it should be", Lore writes.

These additional services would allow customers to use voice-activated shopping for pick-up orders in stores, at a discount, and to purchase fresh groceries.

Teaming up with Google is part of Walmart's larger strategy to expand its online footprint in the fight against Amazon. Google Express partners also include Costco and Target.

Walmart has also announced that their Easy Reorder feature will be integrated into Google Express, which in turns helps to create a personalized shopping experience in which previous orders can be remembered to make it more efficient.

If Jeff Bezos woke up in a cold sweat last night, it's probably because he sensed the partnership Google and Walmart announced today.

"I don't see Walmart as a rival to Amazon because Amazon is also a platform provider, whilst Alexa represents a much bigger ambition than just another way of doing online shopping". This is made possible with Walmart integrating its Easy Reorder feature from its mobile app and its website.

Amazon is heavily promoting Alexa voice shopping with daily deals and exclusive deals during Black Friday and Prime Day.

"That's why we made a decision to deeply integrate our Easy Reorder feature into Google Express", wrote Marc Lore, president and chief executive of Walmart US e-commerce, in a blog post.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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