If you’re a Walmart customer then you will, once again, be able to voice-order groceries using Google Assistant. This is yet another attempt by the brick-and-mortar stores to compete with Amazon. Walmart announced the updated partnership this week and said that they would gradually roll out the feature over the next few weeks. This particular development comes after Walmart left Google Express, which was Google’s online shopping tool back in January as they were wanting to develop their own Google Assistant shopping features.
Walmart shoppers will soon be able to add items to their shopping cards by saying, “Hey Google, talk to Walmart”. This particular feature will be cross-platform, which means that you can use any device that has the Google Assistant feature including smart speakers and displays or an Android watch and even your iPhone. Google Home will keep track of your preferred brands at Walmart, which ultimately will save some shoppers time. Walmart has offered same-day and next-day shipping with Google Express, but it’s unclear what shipping options Walmart will offer with this new venture.
Let’s put this into perspective for a moment. Walmart still maintains its status as the world’s largest retailer, and are looking to claim some of the e-commerce territory already held by Amazon and Alexa. But is this something that people want or even need? I’m all about convenience and I’d like to think that this would be of benefit to me in my daily life, but is this kind of service convenient to your life? If I think about my shopping habits, they’re not really “planned”. Meaning, if I’m in the mood for something specific to eat – I am going to stop at the store on my way home and get that. I’m also not sure that I pre-plan enough to warrant getting regularly stocked items like laundry detergent or soap delivered. I struggle with this from Amazon as well. How do I know I’ll need another bottle of shampoo in a month? How do you
My idiosyncrasies aside, I love the concept. For many years now, I’ve been a big proponent around how technology can be used to benefit our lives. Sure, technology is always assisting our lives, but does it make your life easier? My Apple Watch, for example, allows me to see messages that are coming in and gauge their importance before picking up my phone to check it. So does this particular feature give you the freedom to make your grocery shopping easier?
The answer might be yes. Until now, Amazon was the only one who was really able to give people this kind of shopping experience. Google and Walmart still have a lot of ground to tread if they want to compete considering Amazon controls 70 percent of the smart speakers being purchased as of December 2018. This is in comparison to Google’s 24 percent. That said, this partnership between Google and Walmart might be of benefit to customers who prefer the Walmart brand over Amazon’s grocery offerings and this may lead them to getting a Google Home assistant instead.