Google and Walmart announced a new partnership by adding Walmart into the Google Home speaker ecosystems. The Walmart integration will work within Google Express, which is Google’s shopping service.
For the initial roll out, Walmart shopping will limit voice enables shopping to its Easy Reorder feature, but expect the service to expand as it gains traction.
This partnership ups the game in voice enabled eCommerce. To date, Amazon leads this field as Alexa powered Echo speakers are tightly integrated into the eCommerce marketplace.
Beginning in September, Walmart customers will receive an invitation to join Google Express to link their Walmart account to Google.
WHY IS THE WALMART GOOGLE PARTNERSHIP UNIQUE
To date, none of the Google Express partners allowed Google access to their existing user accounts. With this link-up between the two companies, Google gains access to Walmart order histories and customer data.
This integration allows Google to make purchase recommendations. For example, a customer may ask Google, “Google, buy bread” and Google will suggest to the customer the brand of bread it thinks the customer would like the most.
As Google learns more about the customer’s Walmart purchases, Google can streamline the entire ordering process by suggestion previously purchased products, package sizes, or brands.
The idea is that over time voice shopping becomes less of a question and answer session, but an easy and quick purchasing process.
WAIT, THERE IS MORE IN THE PIPELINE
For Walmart, the voice enabled shopping experience on Google Home is part of a larger expanding eCommerce strategy to battle Amazon.
“And, this is just the beginning. Next year, we will also leverage our 4,700 U.S. stores and our fulfillment network to create customer experiences that don’t currently 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.”
Marc Lore, President, and CEO, Walmart U.S. eCommerce
And Walmart is not afraid to be compared on the Google Home platform. The access to the tech is far more valuable than potential issues with comparisons. Walmart, as a low price leader, is going to lead the way when it comes to offering value.
When it comes to voice shopping, we want to make it as easy as possible for our customers. That’s why it makes sense for us to team up with Google. They’ve made significant investments in natural language processing and artificial intelligence to deliver a powerful voice shopping experience. 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.
Marc Lore, President, and CEO, Walmart U.S. eCommerce
GOOGLE EXPRESS ELIMINATES MONTHLY FEES
To entice more users to Google Express, the company also removed the $10 per month or $95 per year membership fee.
The delivery service currently offers access to big box retailers such as Kohl’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, PetSmart, Toys R Us, Walgreens, Target, Costco, and others in similar market segments.
Google also will offer free delivery if the order meets the store’s minimum order requirement.
There was no mention in Walmart’s announcement about the “same-day” delivery options by Google Express. In select markets, Google Express offers “same-day” delivery from a few merchants.
Walmart seems to be running other delivery trials, so Google Express’ potential same-day delivery offering just adds a bit to the confusion on how Walmart plans to expand its delivery services.
GOOGLE HOME “MINI” IN THE WORKS?
Google appears ready to expand the selection of its Google Home speaker options. Well, right now there is only one!
According to AndroidPolice, the company plans to unveil a mini version of the Google Home speaker to compete against Amazon Echo Dot devices. This new addition would make perfect sense as Amazon Echo Dot’s are dotting (pardon our pun) the mini speaker landscape.
This new device could be available as soon as next month, just in time for the busy holiday season.
WALMART AND GOOGLE, A MATCH MADE IN …..
Privacy conscious consumers may be a bit worried. Nearly 95 percent of Americans shopped at least once at Walmart last year.
Walmart is known to have one of the most sophisticated customer analytics systems in retail. While there is no direct linkage (yet) between online accounts and in-store shopping, that distinction may blur over time as more Walmart customers use walmart.com.
And now Google gains access to this data. Another company that has a reputation of storing everything they know about you.
Let’s not be naive about this though, Amazon and every other major eCommerce retailer in the world is working on machine learning. Everyone wants to target offers to consumer’s tastes.
There is no doubt that Walmart is throwing everything and the kitchen sink at eCommerce. Partnering up with Google gives them missing pieces that Amazon already has in their arsenal. In short, the largest retailer in the world is quickly catching up!
We love to hear your thoughts on Walmart and Google teaming up. Please use the comments section below.
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