Walmart taps Google for omnichannel commerce play

Posted August 25, 2017

Google first introduced voice shopping to Google Home earlier this year with partner retailers like Costco, Walgreens, and PetSmart, according to Recode, in what looked like to many a clear effort to combat Amazon's longstanding stronghold of voice ordering technology.

"I believe our job at Walmart isn't only about saving our customers money, but also about making shopping faster and easier", writes Marc Lore, president and CEO, Walmart US eCommerce, in a blog post announcing the partnership.

According to Walmart, the partnership would allow it to "create customer experiences that don't now exist within voice shopping anywhere else".

According to the BBC report, Amazon has been challenging brick-and-mortar retailers by offering items at cheaper prices, often with free delivery.

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Google has partnered with Walmart to allow users to offer voice-based shopping with the aim of taking on Amazon, which now dominates the voice-based shopping market in the U.S., according a BBC report.

Wal-Mart and Google announced today that users will soon be able to place Wal-Mart orders using Google Assistant either through the Google Home smart speaker or through the Google Express website or mobile app.

What's more, Walmart will be giving its customers the ability to link their Walmart accounts to Google Express so that they can take advantage of the retailer's Easy Reorder offering through Google's service. "That's why it makes sense for us to team up with Google", continued Lore.

The partnership is a direct challenge to Amazon's voice shopping with Alexa, which the company has been heavily pushing with promotions and discounts.

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This represents Walmart's latest foray into the e-commerce space.

Walmart says it will have more items available than any other retailer on Google Express. "It's going to be a powerful mechanism to enhance the shopping experience". This service replaced Walmart's existing two-day shipping program named "Shipping Pass" that charged shoppers an annual membership fee of $49 and competed strongly with Amazon's Prime shipping program, which charges customers $99 a year for two-day shipping with additional features like a streaming video service. In this regard, the company continues to make huge investments in e-Commerce initiatives, including acquisitions.

Wal-Mart Stores, the 800-pound gorilla of retail, is running hard to catch up in an increasingly crucial segment where it is neither the biggest nor the best: e-commerce. Lore also said that the company has even bigger plans for 2018 when it comes to voice shopping.

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