Google and Walmart have announced a partnership to bring Walmart voice shopping to the Google Assistant and Google Home.  Free delivery will also be available through Google Express, which is changing its pricing structure.

Even though it wasn’t discussed in either of the company blog posts, the move is possibly a response to Amazon voice shopping via Alexa devices.  This move is also a part of Walmart’s efforts to increase its e-commerce business and reach new audience.

Initially, the use case will be product reordering.  But anything past that, Wall mart intends to use its data to make personalized shopping recommendations based on purchase history.  There are some pretty ambitious plans that the company has for voice shopping and offline fulfillment:

One of the primary use cases for voice shopping will be the ability to build a basket of previously purchased everyday essentials. That’s why we decided to deeply integrate our Easy Reorder feature into Google Express. This will enable us 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 only need to link their Walmart account to Google Express.

And, this is just the beginning. Next year, we will also leverage our 4,700 U.S. stores and our fulfillment network to create customer experiences that don’t currently exist within voice shopping anywhere else, including choosing to pick up an order in store (often for a discount) or using voice shopping to purchase fresh groceries across the country.

Another important part of the announcement is that Google Express will now be free if the order value goes above a defined purchase minimum.  Before, Google Express cost either $10 a month or $95 a month with additional per-order deliver fees.

This partnership is meant to go to battle with Amazon, which has a significant lead in the installed base of voice assistants.  In a recent NPR survey, Amazon has a 76 percent market share among smart speaker owners.  Google Home is holding only 16 percent share.

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