Innovation

Google readies for e-commerce war with Amazon, offering 2M Walmart products through Google Home

Walmart customers can now purchase millions of items via the Google Assistant, and gain personalized shopping recommendations. With this partnership, is voice set to become the future of e-commerce?

On Wednesday, Walmart's partnership with Google to offer personalized voice shopping to customers went live, coinciding with Google's announcements of the Google Home Mini and a number of other hardware products.

The partnership, originally announced in August, will allow customers to shop for more than 2 million Walmart items via voice commands on the Google Home and Google Home Mini.

"Everyone should have access to a virtual assistant, especially when it can be a tool to help make shopping more convenient," according to a blog post from Andrew Sun, general manager of Internet of Things for Walmart US e-commerce.

The Google Home Mini's price tag of $49 offers Walmart customers a more affordable option for a voice assistant and hands-free shopping, Sun wrote.

SEE: Research: BYOD, Wearables and IoT (Tech Pro Research)

As an added incentive, any customer who purchases a Google Home or Google Home Mini from Walmart will receive up to $25 off a Walmart order once they link their account to Google Express. Doing so will also allow them to receive recommendations based on past purchases made both in Walmart stores and online.

"For example, if you order Tide PODS or Gatorade, your Google Assistant will let you know which size and type you previously ordered from Walmart, making it easy for you to buy the right product again," Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google's senior vice president of ads and commerce, wrote in an August blog post.

The partnership plans to expand next year, Walmart noted in August, by allowing customers to make purchases via voice command and pick up an order in the store, including groceries.

With the investment in digital assistants from every tech giant, voice shopping may be the future of ecommerce. Amazon is clearly the leader in the voice shopping space, which it basically invented, as CNET noted. Amazon also recently began to roll out its Alexa voice assistant to the Amazon shopping app on Android, ZDNet reported. Since Google does not have the distribution network of Amazon, the Walmart partnership may give them the ability to compete on that level. Google has also partnered with Costco and Target for voice shopping as well.

Google's edge may come from its artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning efforts, which could lead to better shopping experiences, such as more personalized recommendations, for customers.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

1. Walmart customers can now shop for more than 2 million items via voice using the Google Home and Google Home Mini.

2. Walmart customers can link their accounts to Google Express, which will use machine learning and artificial intelligence to make suggestions based on their past shopping habits.

3. The partnership aims to help Google become more competitive with Amazon in the voice ecommerce space.

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Image: Walmart

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About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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