Walmart has introduced online voice ordering capabilities via the AI-powered Google Assistant. Now consumers can simply say “Hey Google, talk to Walmart,” and Google Assistant will add items directly to their Walmart Grocery cart.
Walmart Voice Ordering will roll out to consumers on an ongoing basis over the next few weeks, according to a company blog post. The service is yet another shot at Amazon; both Walmart and Google need to make up ground on Alexa’s head start.Amazon controls 70% of the smart speaker market as of December 2018, compared to Google’s 24%, according to Consumer Intelligence Partners.
In January, Walmart withdrew its products from Google Express, the search engine’s online marketplace, after offering products on the service since August 2017. But the companies remained partners even after the withdrawal.The Google Express experiment was one of Walmart’s first attempts to gain traction in voice shopping, enabling shoppers to buy via the Google Assistant included in Google Home smart speaker devices.
Walmart Voice Ordering is available within iPhones, Android phones, Google Home Hub smart displays, watches and more, so customers can manage their shopping carts while they’re at home or on the go. Google Assistant will keep track of shoppers’ preferred Walmart brands to simplify purchasing.
“For example, if a customer says ‘add milk to my cart,’ we’ll make sure to add the specific milk the customer buys regularly,” wrote Tom Ward, Senior VP of Digital Operations at Walmart U.S. in the blog post. Instead of specifying “one gallon of 1% Great Value organic milk,” shoppers can just say “milk,” Ward said.
“Walmart’s new voice-enabled shopping strategy is smart because it focuses on cart replenishment instead of completing a purchase, which aligns with how consumers want to use voice today,” said Marcel Hollerbach, CMO of Productsup in commentary provided to Retail TouchPoints. “The reality is consumers just aren’t ready for voice purchasing. In fact, 43% of consumers use voice devices to create shopping lists while only 30% use it to order products. That said, the key for brands today is to build a deeper brand connection with consumers by finding useful ways to weave voice capabilities into their daily lives.”
While Walmart had offered same-day and next-day shipping with Google Express, it’s unclear what shipping options Walmart will offer with the new venture. Walmart and Google partner across multiple businesses, including Google Ads.