Walmart is all set to renew its rivalry with Amazon, this time with Google on its side. Google’s role in the great retail war will be limited to providing the technical backbone such as its Google Express platform that buyers can tap into for ordering stuff from Walmart.
The above is obviously a move to counter a similar service from Amazon and its Alexa’s voice controlled assistant that enables users to order products from Amazon by simply speaking to the Echo range of speakers. Now with Wal-Mart too offering the same via Google resources, Amazon no doubt has tougher competition on its cards.
Interestingly, this isn’t a big time retailer tapping into Google Express to find more avenues to sell their wares. Rather, what makes Wal-Mart’s Google deal unique is that the former is enabling its existing registered shoppers to link to Google Express. That is not all as Wal-Mart will also have on offer the largest and most diverse range of products.
Such an arrangement is set to reap benefits for both the partners. While Wal-Mart will obviously have more avenues to channel in orders to its retail chain, Google too will have instant access to every customer’s past orders. This, in turn, will enable its AI program to have a better understanding of each customer’s buying patterns and can pattern their algorithm accordingly. For instance, it can display those ads that match with the user’s usual buying preferences and so on.
There is still a week left though for things to move on this front, with Wal-Mart shoppers getting to link their account to Google Express starting September. You also qualify to get free delivery if your purchase value is above just $35.
Among the other companies that already have a tie-up with Google Express include target, Whole Foods, Costco, and Kohl’s, to name a few. However, none of them have their customer’s existing accounts to link up with the Google commercial division, making it more of a superficial arrangement. It remains to be seen though if Wal-Mart’s move will prompt others to have a greater reliance on Google Express.
While that continues to be speculative, what is almost certain is that voice shopping is here big time, and artificial intelligence too will have a big role to play in that. Shopping will never be the same again, that is for sure.