Google, Walmart team up to keep Amazon at bay

Adjust Comment Print

Google and Walmart, in announcing the partnership, said they can see a time when Walmart customers reorder items they purchased by speaking to Google Home.

There is no membership required to order through Google Assistant, the same as Walmart's website or mobile app. Because of Google's technology, Lore said it just made sense to team up with the tech giant. According to Wal-Mart Google's investment in natural language processing and artificial intelligence will help make voice-activated shopping even more popular.

"Voice shopping is becoming a more important part of everyday shopping behaviour", said Marc Lore, chief executive of Wal-Mart's United States e-commerce business, Associated Press reported.

Back in January, Walmart began offering free, two-day shipping on more than two million items - in a bid to challenge Amazon Prime, whose members pay an annual fee for faster and streaming services.

The collaboration is Wal-Mart's latest attempt to match the convenience of Amazon, which quickly delivers a bigger online selection and has a dominant line of voice-activated Echo speakers that play music, turn on air conditioners and handle shopping orders. While Google Home has always been on the point when it comes to answering queries, it is Amazon's Echo that dominates the shopping arena.

Google said it will offer free delivery to shoppers who meet minimums.

"For Google, this is extremely important because now with the sheer volume Wal-Mart is going to give them, they will make their service, Google Express, much more valuable because they will have a much greater reach of consumers", Sodero said.

Walmart and Google announced a partnership to counter Amazon's dominance in voice shopping. They have now added one of the country's biggest retail stores, Walmart, as a partner store.

Walmart already has this program, the Easy Reorder feature, but will link it to Google Express to make the voice shopping experience personalized. Customers will also be able to choose to pickup purchases in-store for a discount - another unique Walmart ability.

"Next year, we will also leverage our 4,700 USA stores and our fulfillment network to create customer experiences that don't now exist within voice shopping anywhere else, including choosing to pick up an order in store [often for a discount] or using voice shopping to purchase fresh groceries across the country", Lore said. "In one breath, you can order what you want, the size you need it in and the shipping option of choice versus the traditional way of search and browse". We know this means being compared side-by-side with other retailers, and we think that's the way it should be.