It’s impossible not to know that Amazon is dominant in online retail. With a 76% market share of all online retail in the USA, there are very few companies that can compete with it. One however that is doing so is Wal-Mart, who have been quietly adding ecommerce operations to their string offline retail outlets over the past 12 months. Now, they have announced that they will be entering into a partnership with Google, allowing people to order their groceries with Google Assistant or online using Google Express. It’s not going to quell Amazon’s dominance of the sector, but it will strengthen Wal-Mart’s position as number two and maybe provide a foundation for it to challenge the gigantic retailer in future years.
The Benefits To Both Google And Wal-Mart
For Google they get the benefits of a retail behemoth being added to its Google Express service, an online shopping bazaar that has been lacking such an acquisition. It will also be an important expansion of its online shopping activities, grouped together under its Google Home brand. For Wal-Mart, the main benefit is that it gets a foothold in the voice-enabled future of ecommerce. But perhaps more importantly it will be a way to boost its financials after its third quarter results that were released earlier this month showed that it persistently lags behind Amazon, even if the numbers were good. Ecommerce commentators have been largely positive about the new partnership:
“Everybody’s trying to get into virtual assistants, what we call conversational commerce. They’re banking on the fact that people are trying to do this even though they really don’t presently,” says Krista Garcia, a retail analyst with eMarketer, which tracks the ecommerce space.
As you would expect, both Wal-Mart and Google are bullish about the new project.
“We are trying to help customers shop in ways that they may have never imagined,” said Marc Lore, who is leading Walmart’s efforts to bolster its e-commerce business. He came to Walmart last year after the retailer bought the company he founded, Jet.com.
A Google spokesperson said:
“We’d love to find a way for you to build your shopping needs, and we can not only remind of you what you might need, and what you might want to add to that list, but also remind you that it’s Thursday, you’ve got 25 items on your list, that’s more than enough to be over the free pickup threshold. You’re five minutes off of a Walmart on your drive home. How about we have it ready for you by six o’clock”.
The new partnership is expected to begin in September 2017.