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Walmart partners with Google for voice activated grocery shopping

US retail giant Walmart and tech company Google have collaborated on voice technology to assist customers with grocery shopping.

Starting this month, Walmart Voice Order will allow consumers to order groceries through Google Assistant by saying, “Hey Google, talk to Walmart”. Google Assistant will then follow the orders directly and add grocery items to their Walmart Grocery cart.

“We continue to innovate for the future and look to technology to make great services even better in the future. Introducing: Walmart Voice Order,” said Tom Ward, senior vice president, Digital Operations, Walmart US.

“With the new voice ordering capabilities we’re building across platforms with partners like Google, we’re helping customers simply say the word to have Walmart help them shop … literally.”

“Best of all, customers can be extra confident that we can quickly and accurately identify the items they are asking for with the help of information from their prior purchases with us. The more you use it, the better we’ll get,” added Ward.

When shoppers say “add milk to my cart,” the Google Assistant will add the specific milk brand the customer usually buys, meaning there is no need to continually repeat the brand, volume and whether it’s a low fat or whole milk.

Shoppers can use Walmart Voice Order on Smart Displays like Google Home Hub, Android phones, iPhones, watches, etc.

“We know when using voice technology, customers like to add items to their cart one at a time over a few days – not complete their shopping for the week all at once. So, this capability aligns with the way customers shop. We can’t wait to hear what they think about it and how it’s making shopping easier for them,” Ward explained.

Walmart, Amazon competes in the US grocery sector

Walmart’s latest move comes in light of Amazon’s plans to slash prices at Whole Foods Market and to give major discounts to Amazon Prime members. Amazon also offers voice-activated shopping using its own Alexa-enabled devices, which dominates the US smart speaker market, with 67 per cent market share in 2018, according to eMarketer.

“We still don’t see a lot of people shopping and buying with smart speakers yet, but this may change if more lower-cost models begin to incorporate screens. We’re also likely to see people doing more things with their voice assistants as they find their way into cars and other home-based devices,” said eMarketer principal analyst Victoria Petrock to Chain Store Age.

There are still a minimum number of shoppers who are using speakers to shop. Voice commerce in 2018 accounted for approximately 0.4 per cent of US e-commerce sales. Analysts expect it to increase in the next few years.

This story originally appeared on sister-site Inside FMCG. 

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