Innovation

Walmart taps Google Assistant for voice shopping, setting stage for future of commerce

Walmart customers will soon be able to make purchase via voice commands on their Google Home.

On Wednesday, Google announced a partnership with Walmart allowing customers to make purchases from the retail giant via voice command with the Google Home smart speaker.

Starting in late September, Walmart will make hundreds of thousands of items available for voice shopping via Google Assistant—the largest number of items currently offered by a retailer through the platform, according to a Walmart blog post. Google is also partnering with Costco and Target on this initiative.

Walmart customers will be able to link their accounts to Google, and receive personalized shopping results based on their online and in-store Walmart purchases. "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 the post.

This feature will also allow Walmart to make "highly personalized" shopping recommendations based on customers' past purchases when they link their Walmart account to Google Express, according to Marc Lore, president and CEO of Walmart US eCommerce.

SEE: Google Home: The smart person's guide

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

"When it comes to voice shopping, we want to make it as easy as possible for our customers," Lore wrote in the post. "That's why it makes sense for us to team up with Google. They've made significant investments in natural language processing and artificial intelligence to deliver a powerful voice shopping experience."

As of Wednesday, Google is offering free delivery on Google Express, so long as a customer's order is above each store's minimum. No membership is required, so you can shop through voice on your Google Assistant, or on the website or mobile app, and receive free delivery within three days.

The Google partnership follows a number of technology investments Walmart has made recently: On Tuesday, the company announced a major blockchain collaboration with IBM and a number of other leading food suppliers to better track contaminated food and prevent it from reaching consumers.

And Google continues to build in new features to its Google Home platform in efforts to compete with the Amazon Echo, which currently dominates the market. Amazon also recently began to roll out its Alexa voice assistant to the Amazon shopping app on Android, ZDNet reported. It remains to be seen if integrations such as this one will help Google Assistant win more users.

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Image: Walmart

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

1. On Wednesday, Google and Walmart announced a partnership that will allow customers to shop at the store using voice commands on their Google Home.

2. Walmart customers can link their accounts to Google, and receive personalized shopping results and recommendations based on their online and in-store Walmart purchases.

3. Customers will also be able to shop via Google Home at Costco and Target.

Also see

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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