With Walmart on its side, Google seeks to dominate voice shopping

Walmart will soon offer products via Google Home.

Google and Walmart are joining forces to allow consumers to order hundreds of thousands of products by voice with Google Assistant on Google Home or the Google Express website or app.

According to Google, Walmart customers can choose to link their Walmart accounts to shopping service Google Express and receive personalized shopping results based on their online and in-store purchases.

In fact, Walmart noted one of the primary use cases for voice shopping will be the ability to build a basket of previously purchased items.

“That’s why we decided to deeply integrate our Easy Reorder feature into Google Express,” wrote Marc Lore, president and chief executive of Walmart US e-commerce, in a blog post. “This will enable us to deliver highly personalized shopping recommendations.”

The functionality will be available in late September. Lore noted it will be the “largest number of items currently offered by a retailer through the platform.” Google Express partners also include Costco and Target.

In addition, Lore said Walmart will start leveraging its 4,700 US stores and its fulfillment network next year 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.”

Walmart said it wants to make voice shopping “as easy as possible for our customers” and partnering with Google made sense because “they’ve made significant investments in natural language processing and artificial intelligence to deliver a powerful voice shopping experience.”

For its part, Google said it is “thrilled to partner with one of the most popular stores in America to help make your shopping faster and easier.”

Google said it is also offering free delivery on Google Express as long as orders are above each store’s minimum. There’s also no membership required and shoppers will get free delivery within one to three days.

“Our new voice shopping capability, coupled with our core value proposition, including free two-day shipping and the Pickup Discount, will give our customers a compelling new way to get what they need at low prices,” Lore said. “We will continue to focus on creating new opportunities to simplify people’s lives and help them shop in ways they’ve not yet imagined.”

Lore was the founder of e-commerce company Jet.com, which he sold to Walmart in 2016 for $3bn. He also founded Diapers.com parent Quidsi, which he sold to Amazon for $545m in 2010.

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