Google SVP 'Thrilled to Partner' With Walmart on Voice-Based Shopping

Starting next month, Walmart customers will be able to access hundreds of thousands of products from the company's shelves - everything from dishwashing soap to dining tables - via the online retailing service Google Express.

According to the firm Internet Retailer, which is based among others on figures of the department of Commerce, Amazon still plays an overwhelming role in the online sales in the United States in the second quarter, with a market share of 38 %.

U.S. consumers can very soon buy products from Walmart on their phones and Google Home devices using voice-activated Google Assistant.

Voice-enabled shopping is still in its infancy, but analysts say it is a rapidly growing piece of the pie.

Walmart, however, has begun pushing back aggressively, offering discounts to customers who buy online and pick up in-store, and free two-day shipping for purchases of US$35 (S$48) or more.

"This will enable us to deliver highly personalised shopping recommendations based on customers' previous purchases, including those made in Walmart stores and on Walmart.com", Lore said in a blog post. To take advantage of this personalization, customers only need to link their Walmart account to Google Express. Walmart is looking to tap into the voice activated shopping market by partnering with Google. 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 US e-commerce strategy. The latter move forced Amazon, which rarely imitates the competition, to lower its threshold for free shipping.

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Google's Express delivery service has just gained another big player in addition to Target and Costco: Walmart.

Wal-Mart is facing since several years, the dynamic conquering of the site of trade online, that the threat now on the ground, even to physical stores after the takeover in June of the brand organic Whole Foods. It is now the second-largest online retailer, behind Amazon.com, following its $3.3 billion acquisition of Jet.com past year.

Amazon and Google's voice-controlled speaker devices are gaining in popularity but are mainly still being used for tasks such as making phone calls or playing music rather than shopping. In June, Apple unveiled its own version of a voice-activated speaker device, the HomePod.

Google Express was launched in 2013 to make Google the top go-to destination for those browsing and buying online. This means shoppers will be able to order products by simply giving an audio command to the device.

And as The New York Times notes: "Google is a laggard in e-commerce".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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