Google and Wal-Mart team up to offer voice-enabled shopping

Posted August 24, 2017

"As we see these virtual ecosystems grow and become more widespread, we are likely to see a battle commence between the digital assistants such as Google Home, Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod, as retailers and brands affiliate themselves with one or the other".

"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.

The partnership allows Walmart to challenge Amazon's dominance of the voice shopping market. "We know this means being compared side-by-side with other retailers, and we think that's the way it should be - an open and transparent shopping universe is good for customers". In the announcement there was no mention about whether the new service would be extended outside the US.

The Wall Street Journal writes: "A significant portion of online shopping is made up of consumers reordering the same staples". A few months ago, Google announced voice-activated shopping features for Google Home, but it is today that the company has marked its biggest integration. Wal-Mart said customers will need to link their Wal-Mart accounts to Google Express to be able to participate in the service. Google Express already offers products from a variety of stores, such as Target TGT and Whole Foods WFM. Google and Walmart are definitely not taking things sitting down but rather than hit Amazon separately, they've made a decision to join forces to deliver a more powerful punch.

Voice-enabled shopping is still in its infancy, but analysts say it is a rapidly growing piece of the pie. "We're just getting started, and there will be lots more exciting experiences to come, so stay tuned".

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He said customers will be able to choose whether they want to pick up orders in store or have them delivered.

According to AndroidPolice, the company plans to unveil a mini version of the Google Home speaker to compete against Amazon Echo Dot devices.

The US firm said it would be offering hundreds of thousands of items through the Google Assistant platform, from September.

As The New York Times mentions in its report, this will be the first time that the largest retailer in the world will be making its products available outside of its own website in the United States. Amazon is now leading the new voice shopping e-commerce platform, as its retail business is already deeply integrated with its Alexa voice assistant.