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TWO AGAINST ONE

Walmart and Google are teaming up to fight Amazon’s Echo

Google Home sits on a countertop in front of a Walmart bag.
Walmart
“Ok, Google, buy me nice things.”
  • Karen Hao
By Karen Hao

Junior Data Scientist & Contributor

This article is more than 2 years old.

Walmart and Google have joined forces to fight Amazon for shopping with the sound of your voice.

In a blog post published today, Marc Lore, CEO of Jet.com, the e-commerce company Walmart acquired in September 2016, said users will be able to purchase Walmart products through Google’s voice assistant starting in late September. The collaboration challenges Amazon’s current dominance of the market for shopping with voice-controlled devices. Amazon’s Echo devices currently account for 70.6% of the voice-controlled device market, while Google Home captures 23.8%, according to 2017 data from the research firm eMarketer.

Using a voice device to shop is a growing category of e-commerce. Currently, Amazon captures 43% of all online sales revenue and 53% of online sales growth, according to a February 2017 analysis by Slice Intelligence. Walmart presumably hopes its Google agreement will help it catch up; during last week’s earnings call, the company reported 60% growth in online sales during its second quarter, following 63% growth in the first quarter.

The partnership will let Walmart tap into Google’s expertise in personalization. “One of the primary use cases for voice shopping will be the ability to build a basket of previously purchased everyday essentials,” Lore wrote. With the integration of Walmart’s Easy Reorder feature into Google Express, the retail giant will be able “to deliver highly personalized shopping recommendations based on customers’ previous purchases.”

Next year, Walmart plans to expand its voice shopping experiences to its US stores and fulfillment network, whether it be for in-store pickup or grocery shopping.

“We know this [update] means being compared side-by-side with other retailers,” Lore wrote in a not-so-subtle hat tip to Amazon. “We think that’s the way it should be.”

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