Retail giant Walmart is linking up with Google to offer voice-activated shopping.
The US firm said it would be offering hundreds of thousands of items through the Google Assistant platform, from September.
It is Google’s biggest partnership in the retail sector as it seeks to beef up the reach of its voice-controlled speakers.
For Walmart, it opens up a new front in its battle with Amazon – whose online sales growth threatens traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers.
Amazon also dominates the nascent voice-shopping market.
In the US, it has the lion’s share of the voice-controlled device industry, with its Echo devices accounting for 72% of the market in 2016, compared to the Google Home gadget’s 22%, according to research from eMarketer.
Walmart has been fighting back, offering discounts for click-and-collect customers and free delivery for orders above $35.
Its new move into voice shopping will integrate its quick reordering tool into Google’s same-day delivery service.
Marc Lore, president and chief executive of Walmart’s US eCommerce division, said the “exciting partnership” would help it make shopping “faster and easier” for customers.
“One of the primary use cases for voice shopping will be the ability to build a basket of previously-purchased everyday essential,” he said.
Mr Lore said the plans would be rolled out further next year, with Walmart using its 4,700 US stores to “create customer experiences that don’t currently exist within voice shopping anywhere else”.
Customers might be able to use voice shopping to pick up a discounted order in-store or buy fresh groceries across the country.
Amazon and Google’s voice-controlled speaker devices are gaining in popularity but are mainly still being used for tasks such as making phone calls or playing music rather than shopping.
Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, owns Asda in the UK. There was no mention in the announcement about whether the tie-up with Google would be extended outside the US.
Source: SKY News