Google And Walmart Forge Voice Shopping Partnership To Challenge Amazon

Google is trying to form a super team in the online shopping space, one that could be considered the Golden State Warriors of e-commerce. In that regard, Google is teaming up with Walmart—the equivalent of adding Kevin Durant to an already stacked squad—to take on Amazon and its Prime shipping service, or LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, if we are to keep this analogy going.

Beginning in September, customers will be able to place orders with Walmart via Google Express, Google's e-commerce platform. Buyers will have the option of placing orders through the Google Express mobile app, on the web at the Google Express website, or by voice through devices such as the Google Home smart speaker that are powered by Google Assistant.

Image Source: Flickr (Walmart)

This is a big win for Google for all around. Not only does Google expand its e-commerce footprint by adding another major player to the fold, it also bolsters its Google Home effort, which is a direct competitor to Amazon and its Alexa-powered Echo products.

"If you’re an existing Walmart customer, you can choose to link your Walmart account to Google and receive personalized shopping results based on your online and in-store Walmart purchases. 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," Google explains.

This integration is a level deeper than what exists between Google Express and other retailers that have joined the fray, including Costco, Target, and Petsmart, to name a few. It remains to be seen if voice shopping will through Google Express will spread beyond Walmart or if it will remain an exclusive perk.

For Walmart, the move is an interesting one as it continues to compete with Amazon. Walmart already maintains an e-commerce presence and even recently free 2-day shipping on qualifying items without a membership fee, so long as the total purchase is $35 or more. It also acquired last year for $3.3 billion in cash to supercharge is online business. But what Walmart gains with Google Express is yet another e-commerce platform, along with voice shopping at a time when digital assistants are starting to become a part of everyday life.

Google made one other announcement related to all this. Starting today, it is dropping its membership fee for Google Express and offering free delivery through the platform, so long as the order is above each store's minimum.