Industry

Walmart, Google Team Up to Take on Amazon

Walmart, Google Team Up to Take on Amazon”

The venture, announced early Wednesday, marries Google's hands-free voice activated Google Home program to Walmart's vast network of U.S. stores to allow customers to order groceries and other items to be home delivered through Google Express.

Wal-Mart said it will soon offer its customers the ability to order hundreds of thousands of its products for voice shopping through Google Assistant.

Beginning in late September, Walmart shoppers will be able to do their shopping via the Google Home virtual assistant. And after this connection, it will offer voice-activated shopping.

Though not discussed in either company's blog post, the move is likely a response to Amazon voice shopping via Alexa devices.

Walmart's head of e-commerce Marc Lore wrote in a blog post that the retailer plans to expand the use of voice-activated shopping across its 4,700 stores to "create customer experiences that don't now exist within voice shopping anywhere else".

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Walmart and Google plan to roll out more voice shopping innovations in the next year, including the ability to buy groceries via voice and then have them delivered or pick them up at one of Walmart's 4,690 USA stores. To take advantage of this personalization, customers only need to link their Walmart account to Google Express.

The Walmart-Google Express combination is sure to ramp up the rivalry with Amazon. Last year, it bought Lore's start-up Jet.com for $3.3 billion and placed the former Amazon exec in charge of Walmart's USA e-commerce strategy. But it has faced increasingly stiff competition from Amazon, which is a big leader in e-commerce. It is also beefing up its website: Walmart.com now offers more than 67 million products, a 30 percent increase since the first quarter of this year. And previous year, Walmart acquired Amazon competitor Jet.com, paying $3.3 billion. The company is bringing it to an end after three years since its launch.

"That said, I think these will each become more important aspects of Google's revenue model over the long term, in particular as more searches migrate to voice platforms, where transactions may stand in for advertising, and as Google shifts more effort towards local commerce and advertising", he said. And the different clue about this knot is that it will beef up with the voice-controlled speakers. It's also the latest example of how online shopping is forcing tech firms and traditional retailers to pool their resources. "That is well-adapted to voice ordering because a device can recall the preferred brand, size and type, without requiring shoppers to scan through different product listings".

Bonobos is one of Walmart's other e-commerce buys. "Since starting a shopping service in 2013, it has struggled to gather significant momentum".

Walmart joins other major retailers, including Costco, Whole Foods Market, and Bed, Bath & Beyond that are part of Google's shopping and delivery service. Lore also said that the company has even bigger plans for 2018 when it comes to voice shopping.



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