Walmart uses Google's AI shopping assistant to fight Amazon

Google and Walmart Partner With Eye on Amazon

Wal-Mart and Google announced today that users will soon be able to place Wal-Mart orders using Google Assistant either through the Google Home smart speaker or through the Google Express website or mobile app. The company also has a dedicated back-to-school destination on walmart.com which enables customers to shop school supply lists for more than 1 million classrooms across the country. But now the stakes have been raised, with the entry of Google.

And since the system can be tied to the shopper's Walmart account, it will know exactly what brand of paper towels or soap is preferred. If the deal materializes, it will become the fifth e-Commerce acquisition, since the buyout of Jet.com.

E-Commerce businesses, most notably Amazon, have been taking market-share away from brick and mortar retailers for years.

While Google has the Assistant, Amazon has the popular voice speaker Alexa. This system, launched in July 2016, marked another step toward accelerating the company's online business and making shopping easier and faster.

The lynchpin of Walmart's voice shopping strategy? Wal-Mart noted in its most recent earnings report that customers have responded positively to many of its new online initiatives, including free two-day shipping to Wal-Mart stores and discounts for orders with in-store pickup.




Existing Walmart customers will also be able to link their Walmart account to Google to receive personalized shopping results based on online and in-store purchases.

He further said: "One of the primary uses cases for voice shopping will be the ability to build a basket of previously-purchased everyday essential".

Google Home users can simply use the wake words to ask Google Assistant to play from their favorite playlists, and the addition of SoundCloud and Deezer opens up the music streaming experience beyond Spotify and Google Play Music. When that happens, customers can choose to pick up their verbal orders at a store, often with a discount. But the service has hit several speed bumps, including an unsuccessful move into selling perishables, and turnover by the executives overseeing it.

Google Express has been instructive for Google, says Baird analyst Colin Sebastian, though he doubts it's having much of an impact on Amazon. Indeed, purchase experience through Alexa is quite mixed as many people find it hard to use and do not see the point. "What seems to be happening is a lot of the companies are coming together to offer an alternative to Amazon and this is one example of that", Kessler told AFP in an interview.

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