Walmart To Work With Google To Offer Google Assistant-Based Grocery Shopping Feature

Walmart Voice Shopping
A customer delivers her opinion over a machine inside a Walmart store (Photo: Reuters)

Walmart is taking its customer's grocery shopping up a notch with the integration of a new technology that will hopefully make the experience much more convenient. The company is reportedly now looking into adding a voice-assisted shopping feature into its grocery strategy, which it hopes will help it catch up with competitors such as Amazon.

Amazon customers are currently able to buy their groceries from Whole Foods in the comfort of their own homes by simply telling their Echo devices what they want. Walmart basically wants to do the same thing. To achieve the ambitious goal, the firm is turning to Google to provide it with the necessary technology.

Unlike Amazon, Walmart doesn't have their own artificial intelligence-drive voice assistant, which is why it is now tapping Google's AI-powered voice assistant, Google Assistant. The biggest difference here is that Google Assistant is much more widely available than Amazon's Alexa.

Both Google and Walmart announced their new partnership earlier in the week, stating that Walmart shoppers will soon be able to order their groceries using their Android devices through Google Assistant. The rollout of the new feature is also relatively quick, with both companies announcing that it will be available in some areas in as early as late this month.

Walmart's voice shopping feature, which can be used to make orders for pickup or home delivery, will apparently be available at more than 2,100 Walmart stores by the end of the month. In addition to voice-assisted grocery shopping, Walmart will also be using Google's extensive AI know-how to create a customized shopping experience for each customer. Purchase histories will apparently be integrated with the AI assistant in order for it to determine which types of products to suggest to customers.

The technology is relatively new and only a small portion of the population actually uses it to buy groceries. However, analysts believe that the feature may gain popularity in the coming years, especially as the younger generation grows up to take on their respective home's shopping duties.

According to Walmart's senior vice president of digital operations, Tom Ward, the partnership with Google is simply a way for the company to innovate for the future and for it not get left behind in newer trends. As of the moment, the company still lags behind Amazon in the voice shopping race. While Amazon does have a more diversified portfolio of products, which range from its smart speakers to its online e-commerce platform, Walmart still heavily relies on it's retail and groceries business. More than half of Walmart's annual sales still comes from its groceries business, which is why the company is fighting to protect it against its more advanced competitors. 

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