Published: Thu, August 24, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Joan Schultz

Google Partners with Walmart for Voice Shopping

Google Partners with Walmart for Voice Shopping

Google also had its say, in a blog post welcoming Walmart this morning and pointing out the time-saving convenience of getting "what you want, however you want, from the stores where you already shop", as Sridhar Ramaswamy, SVP ads and commerce, puts it. "Natural progression" The partnership with Walmart comes as the retail industry prepares for a big push towards voice shopping. But that was far behind the Echo, available since late 2014.

"Although Walmart will now be promoting its sales through another retailer - Google - it's a clear paradigm shift, with customers of Walmart accessing its products via Google".

Lore expects the partnership between Wal-Mart and Google Express to grow. Similarly, Amazon's foray into food and grocery items has not gone unnoticed by Walmart. The ubiquity of Alexa-enabled devices definitely gives Amazon the upper hand.

"We continue our transformation to become more of a digital enterprise that moves with speed and agility", Wal-Mart Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon said last week during the company's pre-recorded call for investors. That includes the core $179 Echo as well as the less expensive and smaller Echo Dot and the portable Amazon Tap. Those buying items from Wal-Mart (or other partners including Costco and Target) will get free shipping, as long as they meet the minimum spending requirements established by each store.

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Walmart is integrating its Easy Reorder feature - which has data on both store and online purchases - into Google Express.

Starting in September, customers will be able to place orders with Walmart at express.google.com, the Google Express app, or through Google Assistant-enabled devices like Google Home.

Adding Walmart's huge product line to the mix would likely be a boon to Google Express, but for Walmart, it means going head-to-head online with numerous same retailers it has battled on terra firma - including such giants as Target and Costco, whose products already appear on Google Express.

Walmart (wmt) is teaming up with one of Amazon.com's (amzn) biggest rivals to plant its own flag in the growing voice assistant wars. Walmart plans to let you choose to pick up an order in store for a discount and purchase fresh groceries across the country all by voice in the future.

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Amazon has made significant strides in diversifying its revenue streams, and forced other retailers onto the defensive with competitive prices and often free delivery.

Walmart is trying "to simplify people's lives and help them shop in ways they've not yet imagined", Marc Lore, who heads Walmart's e-commerce efforts, said in a statement Wednesday.

Wal-Mart holds the biggest share of the USA grocery market of any retailer, with a network of almost 4,700 stores that the company says are located within 16 kilometers of about 90 percent of the United States population.

Now many of those products - hundreds of thousands of them - will be available through Google Express. It's even exploring a delivery partnership with Uber.

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