NEW YORK: Google has teamed up with Walmart to enable the retailer’s customers to shop using voice via Google Assistant, the tech giant’s Home voice-controlled speaker or Google Express website or app, in a combined response to the threat both face from Amazon and its Alexa assistant.
Recode described the partnership as a “smart hedge in the event that shopping by voice actually takes off", adding that “Walmart is perhaps the only retailer in the US that comes close to offering the breadth of Amazon’s product catalogue”.
Existing Walmart customers will be able to link their Walmart accounts to Google and receive personalized shopping results based on both their online and in-store Walmart purchases, Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google SVP, ads and commerce, explained in a blog.
The development marks the first time that Walmart has made its products available online in the US outside of its own website. “We are trying to help customers shop in ways that they may have never imagined,” said Marc Lore, CEO of Walmart eCommerce US.
Lore is also CEO of Jet.com, the e-commerce platform Walmart acquired this time last year, and which was created around a shipping algorithm designed to undercut Amazon on the price of some sales.
Customers can receive savings by buying items in bulk, purchasing combinations of items, agreeing to give up free returns, or by paying using a debit instead of a credit card.
As they assemble shopping carts, Jet.com customers – typically millennials – see prices fall on their screen in real time – a model that contrasts with Amazon, which “trained an entire generation of shoppers to buy things by the ones,” according to Liza Landsman, President of Jet.com.
Walmart’s response to the challenge of Amazon has also included free two-day shipping on many items and repurposing some of its bricks-and-mortar outlets as e-commerce fulfilment centres where customers can pick up groceries and other items they’ve ordered online.
Data sourced from Google, Recode, New York Times; additional content by WARC staff