World News

Wal-Mart partners with Google to offer voice ordering

Published on: August 23rd, 2017

Partnership is the latest example of the world’s largest retailer finding a technology partner to catch Amazon.

As reported by Bloomberg, by the end of September, Wal-Mart customers will be able to link their store accounts to Google’s Express shopping service and use voice-activated Google Home speakers to buy items for delivery. Shopping recommendations will be based on previous purchases. Beginning next year, the assortment will expand to include fresh groceries and allow for in-store pickup of orders.

The collaboration is Wal-Mart’s latest attempt to match the convenience of Amazon, which delivers a bigger online selection and has a dominant line of voice-activated Echo speakers that play music, turn on air conditioners and handle shopping orders. Wal-Mart is teaming up with Google to keep its customers from moving to Amazon through these devices.

For Google, the partnership is a boost for its Express shopping app and website, which have also struggled to compete with Amazon. Google is dropping its membership fee for the service. It previously charged $10 a month or $95 per year. The purchase histories of Wal-Mart shoppers will help Google make personalised recommendations, a key feature needed to make voice-activated shopping convenient.

Marc Lore, head of US e-commerce for Wal-Mart, who joined through the retailer’s 2016 acquisition of his Jet.com startup, commented: “We’ve got the purchase history of 140 million Americans going into brick and mortar stores. We are building this to extend to fresh and frozen food. We will deliver to homes and expand aggressively.”

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