Voice shopping also shows that there is always a first time, superimposed on the old way, and until an unquestionable moment, “we’ve always done this”. Until recently it was hard to imagine that the world’s number one “brick and mortar” retail store would make its offer available on an online shopping website outside the company. But it happened.
The recently signed Agreement between Walmart and Google will ensure that the two companies will make Walmart’s products available on Google Express. “We will work with Google to make hundreds of thousands of products available for voice shopping through Google Assistant,” says Marc Lore, founder of Jet.Com and today head of Walmart e-commerce – “One of the primary uses of voice shopping will be a shopping cart with the essential daily products that have already been purchased”.
Amazon responded in style to the market invasion with the acquisition of the Whole Foods supermarket chain. Google and Walmart’s goal is to make the voice assistant the engine behind online shopping, and focusing on the maximum level of customisation possible for customer service. It will be able to link your account with Google, accessing your purchase history, and thus the retailer taking part in propensity models. According to Google, 20% of smartphone searches are already being done using voice search, and a voice-only purchasing experience may not be too far into the future.
Voice shopping is another step forward in Walmart’s digital strategy, which is pushing to position many retail outlets as pickup centres for online orders. The numbers are rewarding for the company: its digital business has increased by 60% in the last six months compared to the previous year. Walmart’s decision makes sense, but it is not without precedent: over 50 retailers use Google Express, including Target and Costco (among Walmart’s first national competitors).