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What’s Behind Walmart’s Exit From Google Express?

  • Written by  Glenn Taylor
What’s Behind Walmart’s Exit From Google Express?

Walmart products are no longer available for purchase on Google Express, the search giant’s online marketplace. Google Express first confirmed the news on Twitter on Jan. 22, when a consumer asked why he could no longer find Walmart products on the app. Walmart withdrew the products, according to Bloomberg.

Regardless of the shopper’s location, items sold by Walmart on Google Express are either gone or “outside of your delivery area,” and the Walmart store page shows the same prompt.

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While it is unclear exactly why Walmart took its products off Google’s digital shelves, the retail giant is doing everything it can to bolster its own e-Commerce presence, particularly through its site redesign and continued efforts to expand BOPIS and curbside pickup capabilities. By Jan. 31, 2020, Walmart plans to operate nearly 3,100 curbside pickup and 1,600 delivery locations.

Google began offering Walmart products through Express in August 2017, marking the first time Walmart made its products available online in the U.S. outside its own e-Commerce site. The decision initially appeared to be part of Walmart’s push to gain traction in voice shopping, enabling shoppers to buy via the AI-powered Google Assistant included in Google Home smart speaker devices.

Target formed a similar partnership with Google Express in October 2017, with other major retailers including Kohl’s, Costco, Home Depot, Best Buy, Sephora, Walgreens, Wayfair and Ulta Beauty all joining the platform. In March 2018, Google integrated Express with Assistant and its search engine to form Google Shopping Actions, bringing in “hundreds of other merchants” into the platform.

With these retailers still in the fold, Google retains plenty of star power. But given the recency and relatively low profile of its service — particularly as Google continues to compete with Amazon on multiple fronts such as advertising — it’s likely that Google needed the partnership with Walmart much more than Walmart did.

Walmart and Google remain partners across multiple businesses, including Google Ads, a Google spokesperson said. Walmart will continue to build software that works with Google Assistant, a Walmart representative told Bloomberg.

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