Amazon has been really shaking things up in both the retail and the home technology industries but if you are not really hip to Amazon or to the latest technology these developments may have slipped by you. But as both of these industries have been growing quickly, other companies have been looking to get into the fold; its just that, no other company has been quite so poised to join the two together.
But being a technology company has not stopped Google from getting into the game. Similarly, being a retailer is not stopping Walmart; in fact, Walmart has been looking for a better way to digitize its business model: so the two have come together. Essentially, if you own a Google Home voice-controlled speaker-slash-digital personal assistant, you can now order products from Walmart by just asking. You can also add items to your cart and then finalize the purchase later.
Of course, Google introduced voice shopping through the Google Home platform earlier this year so those who have been using smart speaker are already familiar with the same-day delivery feature, ordering from partners like Costco, PetSmart, and Walgreens. But now those loyalists and early adopters will be able to get stuff at great prices from a local Walmart store.
Indeed, Walmart will join the still growing list of retailers lining up to be a part of the Google Express shopping marketplace. And, as Gartner research vice president of retail Miriam Burt explains, this move is not just an attempt to capitalize on trends, but, in fact, is actually about making the experience easier for customers.
She explains, “We need to watch the cohort of customers that’s starting to grow around this, particularly Gen Z, which is anyone born after 1995, who are highly influential. They’re very much into conversational commerce, through instant messengers like WhatsApp, Facedook Messenger and WeChat.
Burt goes on to say, “If you translate that into this, shopping is very convenient for them with voice activation. But whatever way you interact with the retailer, it has to be a really good customer experience from start to finish. If parts of that experience are bad, it will be very hard for the customer to be loyal.”
And, to stay competitive—particularly against Amazon—Google Express will forgo the $95 annual membership, leaving customers to choose whether or not they want free 3-day shipping based on the purchase minimum of each store.