Walmart is bulking up its online strategy for groceries to stay competitive against Amazon.
The retailer recently announced that it is partnering with Google Assistant to allow customers to place grocery orders through voice commands. Customers will say “Hey Google, talk to Walmart,” to start adding items to their Walmart grocery cart. If the customer doesn’t specify exactly what type of product they want — e.g., “add milk to my cart,” Google Assistant will fulfill that request based upon what type of milk the customer buys regularly.
It’s indicative of the next frontier Walmart will have to conquer in grocery, which is perfect e-commerce ordering and connecting those to physical stores.
Walmart has already built out a significant grocery pickup operation using thousands of its brick-and-mortar stores, which it hopes will solidify customer loyalty when one of its biggest competitors, Amazon, makes a bigger push into grocery. Now, Walmart wants to take on Amazon on its own turf, by testing how it can use next-generation technologies like voice commands, visual search and autonomous delivery vehicles to more quickly fulfill customer orders.
Walmart has made click-and-collect the cornerstone of its online grocery strategy, as it’s cheaper for the company to get Walmart customers to come to existing brick-and-mortar stores than for Walmart to deliver a grocery order to them, and makes them more likely to place other orders while they’re at the store.
A number of such initiatives puts Walmart in a better position to shape what online grocery shopping looks like in the future, which could have an even bigger impact in the long run.”