Walmart and Google partner up to offer voice-activated shopping

Doug Mc Millon Wal Mart Store Inc. Chief Executive Officer Doug Mc Millon speaks at the Wal Mart shareholder meeting in Fayetteville Ark Wal Mart Annual Meeting Fayetteville USA

However, Elliott stated that voice-activated shopping at Walmart will be more attractive than it is at other Google Express retailers where personalization requires some time.

Walmart is integrating its Easy Reorder feature - which has data on both store and online purchases - into Google Express.

READ NEXT:Microsoft Research achieves new breakthrough in voice recognition Voice shopping could evolve into one of the most natural ways to purchase online products.

Marc Lore, president and chief executive of Walmart's USA eCommerce division, said the "exciting partnership" would help it make shopping "faster and easier" for customers.

In an escalation of its online shopping battles with Amazon.com, Google has partnered with Walmart to deliver goods to their shared customers.

Starting from late September, shoppers will be able to buy items from Walmart using their voice with the Assistant on Google Home or on the Google Express website or app.

Though Google Home now offers customers voice-shopping options to the retailer's rivals - Costco Wholesale and Target - Walmart will offer the largest assortment of any Google Assistant seller.

Mr Lore said the plans would be rolled out further next year, with Walmart using its 4,700 United States stores to "create customer experiences that don't now exist within voice shopping anywhere else". Costco and Whole Foods are already partners.

"Shopping isn't always as easy as it should be", Sridhar Ramaswamy, SVP for Ads and Commerce, said in a blog post. This is due to many retailers already imposing their own across-the-board shipping fees and per-store purchase minimums. This could make reordering much easier, since Google Assistant will know what products consumers purchased in the past.

That emphasis on immediacy is a primary driver of this alliance. She noted that partnerships with companies like Uber enable the discounter to get the business "up and running" and it will be able to learn a lot.

Currently Amazon's voice-activated Alexa device, which allows shoppers to also shop online on the retail site, has the majority share of the growing voice-shopping market. Lore founded Jet to compete with Amazon, which bought his first startup company.

"This technology is still in its infancy amongst retailers, but we will inevitably see a long line of them making the same decision as Walmart to offer its customers a voice-controlled service, removing the need for a cumbersome, physical interface and allow consumers to slot digital services into their lives with less disruption". "Conversational commerce is not fully ready for "Prime time" but it is getting there quicker than most organizations are willing to realize". It could also be the driving force for Walmart in the years to come.

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