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Asda parent introduces voice-shopping technology

Published: 23 August 2017 - Fiona Garcia

US retailer Walmart is teaming up with Google to enter the voice-shopping market, which is currently dominated by pure-play giant Amazon.

From September, consumers in the US will be able to buy Walmart products using a voice-activated Google Assistant platform on mobile phones and smart home devices.

Amazon's voice-enabled virtual assistant Alexa already lets consumers shop directly from its site.

The new partnership enables Walmart to challenge Amazon's dominance of the  voice shopping market.

In a blog post, Walmart's head of e-commerce Marc Lore said that the retailer plans to expand the use of voice-activated shopping across its 4,700 stores to "create customer experiences that don't currently exist within voice shopping anywhere else".

For example, Walmart, which owns the UK's Asda supermarket chain, could offer consumers the choice of picking up an order in store at a discount, or enable users to use voice shopping to purchase fresh groceries across the country.

Hundreds of thousands of products will be available.

Whilst Amazon has long proved stiff competition for bricks-and-mortar retailers by promising low prices, often with free delivery, Google has been trying to offer high street retailers a way to fight back by offering their products on its Google Express online shopping marketplace. Via the platform, consumers can buy from an array of stores, including Costco, Ace Hardware, Orchard Supply Hardware, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Wayfair.

Walmart will be offering the most items of any retailer on the Google Express platform. All users have to do is link their Walmart accounts to Google Express.

While the shopper technology will solely be available to Walmart customers in the US, it may not be long before it is rolled out to Asda in the UK.




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