Service Provider Cloud

Google & Walmart Take the Fight to Amazon

Google and Walmart are teaming up to allow consumers to buy Walmart products by voice using Google Assistant.

The partnership will allow consumers to buy "everything from laundry detergent to Legos," according to a post on Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s company blog signed by Sridhar Ramaswarmy, senior vice president ofads and commerce. Consumers can use the Google Home device -- Google's competitor to Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) Echo -- or the Google Express website or app. Existing Walmart customers can link to their Walmart account for personalized shopping results. "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," Ramaswarmy says.

Google, which previously partnered with Costco and Target, will offer free delivery on Google Express on orders above each store's minimum.

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Next year, Walmart will leverage its 4,700 US stores and its fulfillment network to allow consumers to pick up orders in store, often for a discount, or use voice shopping to buy fresh groceries, Marc Lore, Walmart president and CEO of US e-commerce, writes on Walmart's blog.

"The increasing importance of voice shopping suggests Wal-Mart and Google, part of Alphabet Inc., need each other to compete against Amazon," according to the Wall Street Journal. "Voice-controlled ordering is a small but rapidly growing share of online sales, analysts say, and one of the top reasons to use Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa and its Echo speakers."

The Journal continues:

Amazon effectively invented voice shopping, which allows users to easily order goods, like toilet paper and diapers, thanks to Amazon's vast data set on customers' past purchases. A significant portion of online shopping is made up of consumers reordering the same staples. That is well-adapted to voice ordering because a device can recall the preferred brand, size and type, without requiring shoppers to scan through different product listings.

"When I buy a product that I don't care about, it is actually a pain for me to go to a website and find an item and check out," said Forrester analyst Brendan Witcher, a former retail executive. "If I can simply say, send me dishwashing soap... and you send it, that's much easier on me as a consumer."

About 30% of Amazon Echo customers buy something on their device at least once a week, according to a Consumer Intelligence Research Partners survey as reported by the Journal.

Google and Walmart both have Amazon on top of their enemies' list, so it makes sense for them to partner. Google is going up against Amazon in the enterprise cloud. (See Google's Big Enterprise Cloud Bet and Google's Pichai: Cloud's One of Our 'Biggest Bets'.)

And Amazon is, of course, a top retail competitor to Walmart. Amazon leads in online retail, and is encroaching on Walmart's brick-and-mortar turf with its $13.7 billion bid to buy Whole Foods. (See Amazon Steals Big Microsoft Customer With Whole Foods Purchase.)

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kq4ym 9/15/2017 | 9:19:42 AM
Re: GOOG instead of MSFT It will be interesting to see if Walmart with it's huge stores all over the country will be able to take advantage of voice ordering in order to keep up with Amazon. I've noted recently that Amazon's price are no longer anywhere near the best price online. Maybe Walmart can capture the market with lower prices?
[email protected] 8/31/2017 | 4:57:52 PM
Re: GOOG instead of MSFT Daniel, I don't think  Walmart will be able to match the distribution network that amazon has in place that is nimble and readily adapting to the environment. They have acquired Whole Food not just for the clicks but for the distribution it can offer their Amazon Fresh marketplace. If I were in the grocery business I would be concerned because Amazon can now power up it grocery business across the country.
JohnMason 8/31/2017 | 3:50:54 PM
Re: GOOG instead of MSFT epic indeed. did you see what amazon did with whole foods? they lowered prices right away.
mhhfive 8/31/2017 | 2:09:10 PM
Re: GOOG instead of MSFT Google (or Alphabet) hasn't (yet) proposed any revolutionary means for transporting physical goods. It has Waymo, but I haven't seen anything that said Waymo is looking into disrupting the supply chain industry with autonomous vehicles shipping things from A to B. 

Amazon is way ahead in e-commerce and has a focus on the supply chain for both physical and digital bits. Google is still riding the wave of its ad revenues.... 

danielcawrey 8/31/2017 | 11:38:08 AM
Re: GOOG instead of MSFT It's going to be an epic battle. While smaller organizations might fear Google, Amazon has such a hyper focus on retail it's going to be a slugfest. You've also got Walmart in the equation as a ruthless big box machine. 
[email protected] 8/29/2017 | 5:05:04 PM
Re: GOOG instead of MSFT Joe, it's a great point when you are very good at what you do many do assume you are first! As we know many first movers disappeared only to be overtaken by the underdog--we all remember Blackberry and Palm now relics in tech. Amazon is doing a great job at leading and diversifying with great service. That has been part of the key to their success they make doing business with them easy.
mhhfive 8/29/2017 | 2:49:01 PM
Re: GOOG instead of MSFT Sure there are competing partnerships all the time -- that's why I'm not so excited by how this Google+Walmart deal is *that* significant. I haven't seen anything special about the deal -- where Walmart is throwing tons of its own developers into the Google store to create anything really unique. It sounds very similar to existing deals Google has with Costco and others -- with the only exception being that Walmart is a bigger player than some of them.

It would be a much bigger deal if there appeared to be more integration between Google and Walmart... maybe if Walmart sold its e-commerce division to Google or something like that....? 
Joe Stanganelli 8/28/2017 | 4:45:38 PM
Re: GOOG instead of MSFT @maryam: Echo wasn't quite first to market (not by a long shot, really), but the fact that so many people think that it was goes to show its brand victory. Echo made things more convenient, more affordable, and more visible in comparison with competitors.
[email protected] 8/28/2017 | 2:44:54 PM
Re: GOOG instead of MSFT The challenge will be to gain market share, Amazon and echo were first to the market and many users have Prime which makes delivery and offering simple and easy. Unhooking user will be difficult so they need to approach the portion of the population that does not have prime which is shrinking. Also, the pickup process at Walmart stores is less than easy I have tried it and it is very challenging. As Amazon integrates Whole Foods the grocery market will undoubtedly be in for a shake up because now they have the physical locations to ignite Amazon fresh.
Joe Stanganelli 8/25/2017 | 7:38:58 PM
Re: GOOG instead of MSFT @mhh: Eh. Incestuous partnerships happen all the time in industry, and companies often get hired by clients who compete with one another. It's just a fact of life these days.
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