Google and Walmart have announced a partnership to offer voice shopping via Google Assistant. By simply talking to the voice assistant, users will be able to order products from Walmart and receive package delivery via Google’s shopping service Google Express.
In other words, talking to Google Home or smartphones powered by Google Assistant will allow users to shop from Walmart. They may give commands like “Ok Google, buy peanut from Walmart.”
From grocery delivery to smart home gadget installation consultation, Amazon has a wide range of service offering for its customers. Instead of competing with the tech giant directly, creating alliances with others to grow capabilities seems to make more sense.
Since Google Express is integrated with Walmart’s shopping tool Easy Reorder, users can link their Walmart account and enable product recommendations from Google Assistant. Easy Reorder was launched this year to help customers build a list of goods online based on their purchase history in stores.
Furthermore, Google won’t charge users any fees for voice shopping with the Walmart partnership. The company has charged customers US$10 per month or US$95 per year for the Google Express membership, delivering goods from Target, Costco, Staples and Walgreens.
Google believes that the membership has been a barrier for greater consumer shopping activities, especially voice shopping.
“If you’re on a mobile device, it’s easy enough to explain you can either pay US$4.99 to get this stuff delivered, or you can buy a membership,” Brian Elliott, the general manager at Google Express, told TechCrunch. “It gets really hard to figure out how you’re going to tell somebody in a voice-based experience the difference between a membership and a non-membership.”
Google Express now offers free delivery as long as an order meets each store’s minimum shopping requirement, which usually runs between US$25 and US$35. If it is not met, customers then need to pay a US$4.99 delivery fee.
Google’s strategy is different from that of Amazon, which still requires users to have a Prime membership to use the shopping service via Alexa.
Walmart did not join Google’s shopping service because it also handles its online orders via its own two-day shipping program. With this new partnership, the company may get new customers and also leverage a new e-commerce platform – voice shopping.
The Walmart feature will be rolled out in late September on Google Home. There are plans to launch fresh grocery shopping by voice next year. Customers will be able to pick up products from any of its 4,700 stores across the United States.