Walmart and Google challenge Amazon with voice shopping partnership

The two industry giants are aiming to improve their position in the ecommerce market by offering consumers voice-based shopping via their smartphones

Google's deal with Walmart hopes to take advantage of the growing use of voice recognition software

Google and Walmart have teamed up in a deal that will enable consumers to shop online using voice recognition software. The partnership was announced on August 23, and is viewed by many as an attempt to challenge Amazon’s industry dominance.

From September, shoppers will be able to link their Walmart accounts to Google Express, the company’s e-commerce platform, and use Google Assistant to order groceries by talking into their smartphone. Users can also receive personalised shopping results and make use of Walmart’s easy reorder service to enable fast repeat purchases. Further integration is also expected in the coming months.

Google undoubtedly has hopes that the Walmart collaboration will help it improve its patchy record in the e-commerce industry

According to Walmart President and CEO Marc Lore: “Next year, we will also leverage our 4,700 US stores and our fulfilment 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 was launched in 2013, but has struggled to compete with Amazon’s superior range of products. Similarly, Amazon’s foray into food and grocery items has not gone unnoticed by Walmart. Amazon’s presence in the voice-based shopping market is also relatively well established, as consumers have been able to order through the company’s personal assistant Alexa for a number of months now.

Although shoppers may be sceptical about how much of a game changer voice searching really is, the partnership between Google and Walmart likely has one eye on future consumer trends. Online shopping is already ubiquitous across smartphones, while 20 percent of all mobile search queries are voice-based. Voice shopping, therefore, could be a potential growth area for both companies.

Google undoubtedly has hopes that the Walmart collaboration will help the company to improve its patchy record in the e-commerce industry. Aside from the disappointing performance of Google Express, the company’s mobile payments platform, Android Pay, lags behind market leader Apple Pay.