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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is partnering with Google to offer hundreds of thousands of items via the voice-controlled Google Assistant platform.

The retailer's move into the nascent voice-shopping market, beginning late September, is yet another front in its battle with Amazon.com, according to a Reuters report. Amazon currently dominates voice shopping via its voice-controlled aide Alexa.

Marc Lore, Walmart's head of e-commerce, wrote in a blog post this week that Walmart would offer a wider selection than any retailer on the platform, and will integrate its quick reordering tool into Google Express – Google's same-day delivery service.

"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," Lore said. "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."

Lore says that, next year, Walmart will leverage its 4,700 U.S. stores and its fulfillment network to enable customers to pick up an order in store (often for a discount) or using voice shopping to purchase fresh groceries across the country.

"When it comes to voice shopping, we want to make it as easy as possible for our customers," Lore said. "That’s why it makes sense for us to team up with Google. They’ve made significant investments in natural language processing and artificial intelligence to deliver a powerful voice shopping experience."

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