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Walmart Tests New Text-to-Shop Service

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Walmart’s Store Nº8 and Global Tech team are rolling out a text-to-shop beta test in select areas to develop the retail giant’s next conversational commerce offering. The offering will build on Walmart’s voice commerce capabilities to introduce more options for customers looking to shop in the way that’s most convenient for them.

Walmart didn’t share any details about how the offering would work or when it would launch, but Dominique Essig, VP of Conversational Commerce at Store Nº8, said that “we look forward to making this more widely available in the future” in a blog post. The post also noted that the service will be personalized to each user. “Text shopping is just getting warmed up,” said Essig.

This isn’t Walmart’s first foray into text-to-shop. The retailer had a service called Jet Black, which let high-end NYC shoppers text orders for on-demand products ranging from cosmetics to party décor, that launched in May 2018 and was shuttered in February 2020. At the time, the retailer said it would “apply these learnings from Jet Black and leverage its core capabilities within Walmart.”

The other side of conversational commerce, voice, is an area where Walmart is already well-established. The retailer’s offerings on this front include Siri support and integration with Google Assistant. In September 2021, a cross-platform partnership with Meredith added the Allrecipes Action for Google Assistant service, which lets shoppers search for recipes by ingredient, keyword or dish name in addition to other cross-platform shopping options.

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Voice commerce is expected to account for 30% of ecommerce sales by 2030, according to Essig in a video conversation with Rebecca Nathenson, Director of Product Management for Google Assistant Developer Platform at Google. Text was the focal point of Walmart’s latest announcement, but voice is clearly still an important element of conversational commerce.

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