Walmart Announces Voice Shopping Rollout

Google Assistant capability will aid convenience, reward frequency; more partnerships to come
Photograph: Shutterstock

Walmart said its shoppers beginning this month would be able to order groceries by voice using the Google Assistant, a capability officials believe will help build loyalty and frequency over time.

Google Assistant is available on more than a billion devices, including Google Home Hub, Android phones, iPhones and watches. Linking existing Walmart grocery accounts will be especially effective for current customers, whose frequent orders will be recognized, Tom Ward, SVP of digital operations for Walmart U.S., wrote in a blog post.

“For example, if a customer says ‘add milk to my cart,’ we’ll make sure to add the specific milk the customer buys regularly. Instead of saying ‘1 gallon of 1% Great Value organic milk,’ they’ll simply say one word: ‘milk,’” Ward said.

“We know when using voice technology, customers like to add items to their cart one at a time over a few days—not complete their shopping for the week all at once,” Ward added. “So this capability aligns with the way customers shop.”

walmart voice screenshot

Several food retailers, including Kroger and Peapod, already offer a similar capability for grocery orders. Walmart’s entry further signifies that so-called “conversational commerce” will be another front in the battle for grocery market share. All of the services are similarly activated by customers on command. “Hey Google, talk to …”

Walmart previously offered voice shopping for certain items through a partnership with the Google Express concierge service, but withdrew its products earlier this year.

Ward in his post suggested voice shopping at Walmart wouldn’t be limited to Google devices.

“We’re kicking off the work with Google, adding others to the mix as time goes on,” he said.



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