Walmart partners with Google to fight against Amazon Alexa

By Callum Rivett
American retail giant Walmart has partnered with Google in a bid to help oust Amazon in the voice shopping e-commerce market. Amazon has been pushing d...

American retail giant Walmart has partnered with Google in a bid to help oust Amazon in the voice shopping e-commerce market.

Amazon has been pushing discounts and exclusive offers to customers who shopped using their Alexa service, with artificial intelligence helping to mould the shopping carts of the future.

Now, Walmart and Google have taken steps to ensure that they will not be left out of the voice revolution - shoppers who sign up for the service will have personalised carts prepared for them based on previous shopping habits, courtesy of Google Assistant.

The service is launching in September, but Walmart has already seen impressive e-commerce growth of 60% during the first quarter of 2017.

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Dr Zhewei Zhang, of Warwick Business School, is Assistant Professor of Information System and commented: "I am not surprised at Walmart teaming up with Google for voice shopping as other major brick-and-mortar retailers like Target and Costco have already done so with Google.

"The bigger question that must be posed is if this move will actually help Walmart compete with Amazon."

"I don’t see Walmart as a rival to Amazon because Amazon is also a platform provider, whilst Alexa represents a much bigger ambition than just another way of doing online shopping."

Dr Zhang says that while voice shopping currently "does not look very useful" it does have the potential to unlock a whole new way to shop.

"Current voice shopping methods are not error-proof and purchase experience through Alexa is mixed," explained Dr Zhang.

"However, with most online shopping being done through a computer-centred experience, voice shopping has the ability to transform that into a human-centred experience."

"Voice control may not be the best way to shop but it does offer a more natural way to get things done."

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