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Walmart And Google Partner On Voice-Based Shopping

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and Google are joining hands to allow shoppers to order products by voice, taking on the mutual threat the two companies face from Amazon.com Inc. and its voice-enabled network Alexa.

Wal-Mart said it will soon offer its customers the ability to order hundreds of thousands of its products for voice shopping through Google Assistant. This will be the largest number of items currently offered by a retailer through the Google Express platform.

Starting in late September, Wal-Mart shoppers can link their Wal-Mart accounts to Google Express and order - either through voice on Google Home, or by shopping on Google Express website or app. Google Express is Google's online shopping mall.

Wal-Mart said it has decided to deeply integrate its Easy Reorder feature into Google Express.

The company noted that the move will enable it to deliver highly personalized shopping recommendations based on customers' previous purchases, including those made in Walmart stores and on Walmart.com. To take advantage of this personalization, customers need to link their Walmart account to Google Express.

Wal-Mart also said that from next year, it will leverage its 4,700 U.S. stores and its fulfillment network to offer more kinds of customers experiences that do not currently exist within voice shopping anywhere else.

This includes choosing to pick up an order in store - often for a discount, or using voice shopping to purchase fresh groceries across the country.

Wal-Mart's partnership with Google is a major step by the company to boost its e-commerce operations amid its escalating competition with Amazon to grab customers.

Meanwhile, Google said that starting Wednesday, it is offering free delivery on Google Express orders so long as the order is above each retailer's minimum threshold.

"There's no membership required so no matter how you shop - through voice with your Google Assistant or on the website or mobile app - you'll get free delivery within one to three days," Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google's Senior Vice President of Ads & Commerce, said in a blog post.

by RTT Staff Writer

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