Wal-Mart Partners With Google for Voice Shopping
Wal-Mart and Google are partnering to enable voice shopping through Google Assistant, Google’s virtual assistant that lives on devices like its smart speaker, Google Home. Wal-Mart’s “Easy Reorder” feature will be available through an integration with Google’s shopping service, Google Express. Consumers will be able to shop thousands of Wal-Mart products just by speaking into Google Home. TechCrunch reports that Google Express is ditching its membership fees, and now promises free delivery across its retailers in one to three days (as long as customer orders are above each store’s minimums). This is a significant change for Google Express, which before charged customers $10 per month or $95 per year for a membership.
Total Retail’s Take: With the Google Assistant integration, Wal-Mart is now able to leverage an e-commerce platform that Amazon.com had but it didn't: voice computing. Some analysts believe that voice could be a major driver of retail sales in the future, so it’s smart that Wal-Mart is getting into the voice game now. Wal-Mart shoppers will now be able to more easily place spoken orders because Easy Reorder remembers a customer's preferences and prior purchases. With this move into voice shopping, Wal-Mart is taking direct aim at Amazon. Marc Lore, Wal-Mart's e-commerce chief, has already said the discount retailer will never be shoppable from Amazon’s voice-enabled device, Alexa. The battle between Amazon and Wal-Mart rages on.