Walmart to enter voice-shopping market via Google
Customers might be able to use voice shopping to pick up a discounted order in-store
Amazon has dominated Walmart and other brick-and-mortar retailers in online sales
Asda owner Walmart is teaming up with Google to enter the nascent voice-shopping market, currently dominated by Amazon.com, adding another front to Walmart’s battle with the online megastore.
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 in the US from late September, Walmart’s head of e-commerce, Marc Lore, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.
Mr Lore, who joined the world’s largest retailer after it bought his e-commerce company Jet.com, said Walmart would offer a wider selection than any retailer on the platform.
Amazon, whose voice-controlled aide Alexa allows users to shop from the retailer (although not yet in the Republic), has the lion’s share of the US 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.
Amazon has also dominated Walmart and other brick-and-mortar retailers in online sales.
Walmart has begun pushing back aggressively, however, offering discounts to customers who buy online and pick up in-store, and free two-day shipping for purchases of $35 or more.
The latter move even forced Amazon, which rarely imitates the competition, to lower its threshold for free shipping.