Walmart has announced a partnership with Google to offer customers voice-activated shopping through Google Assistant. Starting in late September, consumers will be able to access hundreds of thousands of Walmart items via the voice platform, the largest number of items offered by any retailer on Google Assistant.
One of the benefits of voice shopping will be the ability to build a shopping cart of previously purchased items due to the integration of Walmart's Easy Reorder feature into Google Express.
"This will enable us to deliver highly personalized shopping recommendations based on customers’ previous purchases, including those made in Walmart stores and on Walmart.com. To take advantage of this personalization, customers only need to link their Walmart account to Google Express," said Marc Lore, president and CEO, Walmart U.S. e-commerce.
The partnership will continue to expand in 2018 when Walmart leverages 4,700 stores and its fulfillment network to create voice-activated BOPIS options and voice shopping for fresh groceries.
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"When it comes to voice shopping, we want to make it as easy as possible for our customers. That’s why it makes sense for us to team up with Google. They’ve made significant investments in natural language processing and artificial intelligence to deliver a powerful voice shopping experience," Lore added.
Voice shopping will include all of the latest benefits of Walmart's digital channel, including free two-day shipping and an in-store pickup discount.
"We’re thrilled to partner with one of the most popular stores in America to help make your shopping faster and easier," Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google senior vice president, ads and commerce, wrote in a blog post.
There is no membership required to order through Google Assistant, the same as Walmart's website or mobile app.
"Voice adds a deeper, faster level of context for customer engagement than typing, swiping or pressing ever will. In one breath you can order a T-shirt, size large, in white, shipped overnight versus the traditional way of search and browse," Michael Levine, vice president of marketing from Photon, told FierceRetail. "Walmart recognizes they are missing the AI-first shift with voice, and partnering with Google Assistant opens many new avenues of play and enables voice both in the home and on mobile. It's a great first step in reclaiming territory lost to their archrival."