Many analysts see this partnership helping bolster Walmart and Google in their efforts to compete with Amazon.com, which offers voice shopping via its Alexa-powered Echo device.
“One of the primary use cases for voice shopping will be the ability to build a basket of previously purchased everyday essentials,” commented Marc Lore, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. eCommerce, in a blog post explaining the move. “That’s why we decided to deeply integrate our Easy Reorder feature into Google Express. This will enable us to deliver highly personalized shopping recommendations based on customers’ previous purchases, including those made in Walmart stores and on Walmart.com. To take advantage of this personalization, customers only need to link their Walmart account to Google Express.”
He added that next year they will also leverage its 4,700 U.S. stores and fulfillment network to create customer experiences that don’t currently exist within voice shopping anywhere else, including choosing to pick up an order in store (often for a discount) or using voice shopping to purchase fresh groceries across the country.
Google Express also announced it has eliminated its membership fees, and now offers free delivery across its retailers in one to three days, as long as customer orders are above each store’s minimums.
This is a significant change for Google Express, which before charged customers $10 per month or $95 per year for a membership. The delivery service currently provides access to a number of major retailers including Target Corp., Costco Wholesale Corp., Kohl’s Corp., Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. and Walgreens and many others across a variety of verticals.