Walmart to Enable Direct Voice Ordering Through Google Assistant
Walmart today announced that a select number of consumers can now order directly from its Google Assistant Action. A new Google Action enables account linking and the listing states that this is a limited trial for now:
“We’ve selected a limited set of customers to try out our latest way of shopping. If you’re not on the list, don’t fret! Link your account and we’ll let you know when the service is available. It’s easy to shop over 100,000 fresh grocery items and more at everyday, low Walmart prices. Adding items to your cart is as simple as a conversation. Just say something like, ‘OK Google, ask Walmart to add bananas to my cart’ to get started.”
Up until early January of this year, consumers could place orders with Walmart using Google Assistant by using Google Express. Walmart withdrew from Google Express at the beginning of 2019 and there has been no ordering from the retailer through the voice assistant since that time. However, Bloomberg’s Matthew Boyle and Mark Bergen reported at the time that Walmart intended to continue to support Google Assistant.
Google Wants Control of Voice Shopping
What this comes down to is Walmart wants control of the voice shopping experience. The Google Express integration ceded that control while also exposing consumers to other retailers while shopping. By implementing shopping into its own Google Action, Walmart will enable users to connect directly with the retailer after saying, “Hey Google, talk to Walmart.” From that point forward, Walmart can better shape the consumer experience and capture more in-depth user interaction data. And, the move also enables Walmart to create a consistent experience across voice assistants. You could imagine the same experience starting with “Hi Bixby,” “Hey Siri,” or even “Alexa.”
This is about creating an assistant within an assistant in order to better asset brand control. This will be an important strategic move for many retailers and brands that want to take advantage of the large user bases aggregated by Google, Apple, and Amazon but still want to express their own unique value to consumers. You should expect to see more moves like this soon.