In a bid to compete with Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant, which can be used as a way for customers to order from Amazon using Echo, Google has partnered with Walmart to offer a similar service to owners of its Home smart speaker.
Google And Walmart Will Let You Shop Using Your Google Home
The partnership will make hundreds of thousands of Walmart products available for purchase via Home, doing so complete via voice commands. Users may order items one at a time or ask the smart speaker to add multiple items in a shopping cart. In the latter case, the Google Home app is used later on to complete the purchase.
The move sends a signal to Amazon. The ecommerce website's dominance in the online shopping arena continues to threaten traditional brick-and-mortar stores. Walmart has decided to deal with it the best way possible — cozying up to one of Amazon's biggest enemies.
Does The Walmart-Google Partnership Stand A Chance Against Amazon?
The New York Times notes that both companies working together does not guarantee success. For many, Amazon is still the primary venue for online shopping, and redefining that stature involves a great deal. First, Walmart needs to beat Amazon in terms of inventory. Second, it needs to develop a firmer, more seamless way of ordering products online. Third, it ultimately needs to offer an incentive that will convince people ordering from Walmart is better than Amazon. Those goals are straightforward enough, but they're extremely tall orders, perhaps even impossible ones.
Still, both Google and Walmart have to hope their collaboration is an important first step toward eating into Amazon's audience. But they said coming together is less about adapting to how online shopping is done today but is more about where the technology is going.
Walmart customers will be able to link their accounts to Google, which will enable the company to learn past shopping behavior and use that information to predict what they might want to buy in the future. But just how frequently do people use voice commands on their phones? Well, Google says more than 20 percent searches conducted on a smartphone is done via voice. It expects voice-based shopping to be not far behind.
Google previously introduced voice shopping earlier this year, partnering with retailers the likes of Walgreens, Costco, PetSmart, and many others. Walmart will join those retailers in late September, in addition to hopping aboard the Google Express shopping marketplace, the company's own expedited delivery service.
Google will also remove the $95-a-year membership fee for Google Express.
Later on, Google and Walmart will also add the ability to place orders for in-store pickup, in addition to fresh grocery items, Recode reports.