BENTONVILLE, ARK. — Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is partnering with Google in an apparent effort to challenge market leader Amazon.com. Starting in late September, shoppers may order hundreds of thousands of Wal-Mart items on the Google Express web site or mobile app or through voice shopping on the Google Assistant digital platform.
|Marc Lore, president and c.e.o. of Wal-Mart U.S. eCommerce
“One of the primary use cases for voice shopping will be the ability to build a basket of previously purchased everyday essentials,” Marc Lore, president and chief executive officer, Wal-Mart U.S. eCommerce, wrote in a corporate blog post. “That’s why we decided to deeply integrate our Easy Reorder feature into Google Express.”
Customers may link a Wal-Mart account to Google to receive personalized shopping results based on on-line and in-store Wal-Mart purchases.
“And this is just the beginning,” Mr. Lore wrote. “Next year, we will also leverage our 4,700 U.S. stores and our fulfillment network to create customer experiences that don’t currently exist within voice shopping anywhere else, including choosing to pick up an order in store (often for a discount) or using voice shopping to purchase fresh groceries across the country.”
Google Assistant and Google Express users may purchase items from a broad range of retailers, including Costco, Target and Walgreens. The partnership with Wal-Mart adds the largest number of items currently offered by a retailer through the platform, Mr. Lore said.
Amazon.com also offers voice shopping through its Alexa virtual assistant. Google has made “significant investments in natural language processing and artificial intelligence to deliver a powerful voice shopping experience,” Mr. Lore said.
“We know this means being compared side-by-side with other retailers, and we think that’s the way it should be,” he wrote. “An open and transparent shopping universe is good for customers.”Announcement of Wal-Mart’s partnership with Google coincided with news Amazon has received federal approval to acquire Whole Foods Market, Inc. The $13.7 billion deal, announced in June, is expected to be finalized by the end of the year and will expand the e-commerce giant’s footprint into retail grocery.