Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is debuting voice shopping via Google Assistant in partnership with Mountain View, Calif.-based technology company Google, and will offer hundreds of thousands of items that can be purchased by speaking to the virtual personal assistant via the Google Home smart speaker, or on the Google Express website or mobile app.
Set to launch in late September, the service will offer more products than any other retailer offers via the voice assistant, all at Walmart’s Every Day Low Prices. Use cases will include the ability to build a basket of previously purchased everyday essentials, which is why Walmart has deeply integrated its Easy Reorder feature into Google Express: By linking their Walmart account to the service, customers can receive “highly personalized” shopping recommendations based on their previous purchases, whether online or in-store.
“For example, if you order Tide Pods or Gatorade, your Google Assistant will let you know which size and type you previously ordered from Walmart, making it easy for you to buy the right product again,” said Sridhar Ramaswamy, SVP of ads and commerce at Google, in a blog entry.
Voice-assisted ordering is set to grow dramatically in popularity over the near future: One in five consumers have made a voice purchase through Amazon Echo – Google Home’s rival device family, which employs Amazon’s Alexa voice-assistant technology – or another digital home assistant, and another third of consumers plan to do the same in the next year, according to recent research from Chicago-based firm Walker Sands Communications. Moreover, roughly a quarter of consumers own a voice-controlled device whether an Amazon Echo (16 percent) or Google Home (6 percent), while another 20 percent plan to purchase one in the next year.
While younger demographics are more likely to shop via voice-controlled devices than older ones, 26- to 35-year-olds are especially prone to doing so. Walker Sands’ report notes that 37 percent of the age group that currently shops online is “often” or “always” doing its online shopping via voice-controlled devices, while 14 percent said “sometimes.” This is a key demographic due to the fact that its members are entering adulthood and likely to be making more grocery purchases – and doing so online – while schedules and households become more full.