On Tuesday, Walmart and Google announced a joint partnership that will let customers order and shop items using the Assistant on the Google Home or through the Google Express app and site starting this September.
The tech giant already supports other retail industry leaders like Costco and Target, but its partnership with Walmart is eyeing a common threat to all of them: Amazon. The e-commerce king is increasingly gaining terrain thanks to its lineup of Echo home hubs powered by the smarts of Alexa.
To further compete with Amazon on that front, Google Express is getting rid of its yearly membership fee as well and letting people get free deliveries as long as they hit each store’s minimum. Amazon Prime, in contrast, costs $100 a year.
Google and Walmart are partnering on voice shopping in a challenge to Amazon’s Alexa https://t.co/gv2RJzOzrY pic.twitter.com/etR4ZOVj99
— Jason Del Rey (@DelRey) August 23, 2017
Amazon can still challenge both Google and Walmart
Walmart’s immense catalog still pales in comparison to the seemingly endless product listings available from Amazon. In terms of both variety and prices, it is challenging for the king of brick-and-mortar stores to stand up on its own.
This is why it has called on Google’s help, mediated by Marc Lore of Jet.com, to push its digital marketing presence in the most booming field of growth: voice-led ordering and shopping.
Researchers say this segment of market shopping is growing like no other; spearheaded, of course, by Amazon’s pervasive presence in people’s lives online and now in most rooms of their homes through Alexa on the Echo.
Google Home is putting up a fight, recently introducing free calls as a feature, but it still lacked a grocery-shopping experience akin to asking Alexa to ship you your next supply of toothpaste.
Yup, it’s true! @Walmart is coming to Google Express. Sign up to get an email when Walmart arrives. → https://t.co/3zRorfwHqt pic.twitter.com/WkYJQvc8L8
— Google Express (@googleexpress) August 23, 2017
Free Google Express might not be enough to topple Prime
There are tens of retail chains that work with Google Express, and much like Amazon does with Alexa, the Assistant will remember your brand of preference and product specifications so it can get you the exact same one when you order it again.
In a move to taunt Amazon, the tech giant is dropping its $95 annual membership altogether. This leaves it up to customers to use the platform for their convenience as they see fit since they will get fast, free shipping nonetheless if they order the store’s minimum amount or above to qualify for the service.
Still, many have pointed out that this is not equivalent by any means, since Amazon Prime not only guarantees express shipments free of charge, but also gives you access to their proprietary streaming service, makes you eligible for special discounts and benefits, and more for just $5 more than Google Express.