Walmart is tapping into the burgeoning voice commerce market by agreeing to list “hundreds of thousands” of items for sale on the Google Home platform, presenting a major challenge for Amazon and Alexa.
The number of Americans using a voice assistant device is forecast to increase 129% this year to 36 million, with Amazon capturing 70% share of the market. While shopping is not yet the primary use case for voice assistants, Alexa and Google Home give brands exciting new opportunities to reach shoppers. L2’s recent report predicts that voice-based commerce will become a significant sales channel in the future, particularly in categories that require frequent product replenishment such as CPG and Household Cleaning.
Walmart and Google could lure large brands by promising more visibility than they would find on Amazon’s platform. Most products that Alexa currently suggests have the “Amazon’s Choice” designation; while 70% are sold by official brand partners, as many as 30% come from third-party merchants. Walmart’s voice strategy could more effectively guarantee that brand partners wouldn’t lose visibility to those third-party sellers.
The partnership between Walmart and Google also suggests more broadly that the retail and tech giants are willing to team up in an effort to take on Amazon. If Google can attract more large retailers to its Google Home platform, then it stands to be a serious contender in voice commerce.