Walmart and Google team up for voice shopping

The Google Home will soon be able to sell stuff from Walmart.                  CNET

The Google Home will soon be able to sell stuff from Walmart. CNET

Shopping online using only your voice is already a thing if you own an Amazon Alexa device like the Echo speakers or anything else that can run Amazon's virtual assistant. Walmart's head of e-commerce, Marc Lore, said the feature is already receiving good traffic as the company is witnessing "nice repeat" business from the "Easy reorder" service. Google Express was launched a few years back but lately it's been upping its game in order to compete on a level playing field.

The service is available across the US. In the tit-for-tat competition for customers, Walmart is moving to establish a stronger e-commerce presence and Amazon is aiming to capture a bigger chunk of Walmart's lower-income customer base.

Google and Walmart are joining forces to allow consumers to order hundreds of thousands of products by voice with Google Assistant on Google Home or the Google Express website or app.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.is adding another service meant to make shopping easier, announcing a partnership with Google that will give customers the ability to use their voices to order products.

It remains to be seen if integrations such as this one will help Google Assistant win more users.

Walmart, the world's largest retailer, has made a decision to enter the voice-activated shopping market now dominated by Amazon and its Alexa intelligent assistant, the Los Angeles Times is reporting. The capability will be available in late September.

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This partnership will directly challenge Amazon.com AMZN, which now dominates voice shopping with its Alexa-powered Echo devices.

It has overhauled its shipping strategy and is expanding store-curb pickup for groceries ordered online.

But it's also had to look beyond itself and form partnerships. Just this Monday, Wal-Mart announced an expansion of their partnership with Uber to deliver groceries in Dallas and Orlando.

It's also been drawing in customers with its Alexa-powered devices. Amazon doesn't give sales figures for Echo, but Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimated that it's sold more than 10 million Echo devices in the USA since late 2014.

Amazon requires your Prime membership in order to get your items delivered quickly. Shopping recommendations will be based on previous purchases.

Both Google and Walmart took the opportunity to tack on some other news in today's announcements. There's also no membership required and shoppers will get free delivery within one to three days. And it now provides free shipping on all orders over a per-store minimum amount (usually $25 to $35).

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