Walmart, Google team up on a collaborative shopping vision

Walmart, Google team up on a collaborative shopping vision”

Google Express already offers products from a variety of stores, such as Target Corporation (TGT - Free Report).

Announced this week, with rollout starting late next month, users of Google Assistant (on a phone or through Google Home) can use their voice to order items directly from Walmart. Last year, it bought Lore's start-up for $3.3 billion and placed the former Amazon exec in charge of Walmart's US e-commerce strategy.

Google and Walmart announced a partnership on Wednesday that will make items from the big-box retailer available through the search engine's Google Express shopping service.

Next year the partners plan to use Walmart's 4,700 U.S. stores and fulfillment network "to create customer experiences that don't now 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".

Previously, Google Express required a $95/year membership. According to Google, users can also receive unique recommendations based on their order histories when they link their existing account with their Google Assistant.

The new feature enables Google Home owners to stream local music, podcasts and content from streaming services which are not supported by Home, to their speakers.

Though not discussed in either company's blog post, the move is likely a response to Amazon voice shopping via Alexa devices. On Wednesday, Whole Foods shareholders voted to support the $13.7 billion takeover by Amazon. The goal is to create a dam against competitor Amazon. The company has acquired four e-Commerce businesses (Bonobos, ShoeBuy, Moosejaw, ModCloth) since the acquisition (in September 2016) is in line with the Walmart's expansion efforts.

But Amazon's Alexa-powered Echo dominates in voice-activated speakers and is set to control 70 percent of the market by the end of this year, according to eMarketer.

An estimated 55 percent of Americans begin their online shopping trips on Amazon, according to a survey conducted previous year. "We're thrilled to partner with one of the most popular stores in America to help make your shopping faster and easier". This includes Walmart's "easy reorder" feature which helps you repurchase products that you buy regularly.

Bonobos is one of Walmart's other e-commerce buys.

"We know this means being compared side by side with other retailers, and we think that's the way it should be", he said. Lore also said that the company has even bigger plans for 2018 when it comes to voice shopping.

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