Walmart and Google team up for voice shopping


Amazon, whose voice-controlled aide Alexa allows users to shop from the retailer, has the lion's share of the U.S. voice-controlled device industry, with its Echo devices accounting for 72.2 per cent of the market in 2016, far ahead of the Google Home gadget's 22 per cent, according to research firm eMarketer.

Google, which makes the Android software used to run most of the world's smartphones, will offer hundreds of thousands of Walmart items on its voice-controlled Google Assistant platform from late September, Walmart's head of e-commerce, Marc Lore, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.

Additionally, Google announced it will be eliminating membership fee and shipping is free as long as a customer hits a given retailer's minimum threshold order, $35 in Walmart's case.

It is Google's biggest partnership in the retail sector as it seeks to beef up the reach of its voice-controlled speakers.

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Researchers say this segment of market shopping is growing like no other; spearheaded, of course, by Amazon's pervasive presence in people's lives online and now in most rooms of their homes through Alexa on the Echo.

The food chain now offers its customers online grocery order pickup and a discount for in-store pick up of digital orders.

Mr Lore said in the blog post Walmart was also integrating its quick reordering tool into Google's same-day delivery service.

In the USA, it has the lion's share of the voice-controlled device industry, with its Echo devices accounting for 72% of the market in 2016, compared to the Google Home gadget's 22%, according to research from eMarketer.

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"I think this gives us a look into the future of shopping, yes", Walmart president and CEO of USA eCommerce Marc Lore told TheStreet in an interview.

Shoppers don't need a Walmart account to access the service, but if they do, they can opt to link it through Google Express, making it easier for their Google Assistant to track old orders.

For example, Walmart, which owns the UK's Asda supermarket, could offer consumers the choice of picking up an order in store at a discount, or enable users to use voice shopping to purchase fresh groceries across the country.

The tech giant already supports other retail industry leaders like Costco and Target, but its partnership with Walmart is eyeing a common threat to all of them: Amazon. That's why it makes sense for us to team up with Google.

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