Aiming to chip away at Amazon’s dominance, particularly with its two-day free shipping for Prime customers, Google is striking alliances with retailers, with the most recent being Target Corp. (TGT). On Thursday, the two announced an expanded delivery deal and the ability for Target shoppers to shop via voice thanks to Google Assistant.
In a blog post, Target said that under the expanded partnership, customers can use Google Express, the home delivery service it has been testing, via Google Assistant found in its Google Home devices and Android TV. Soon, Target customers will also be able to use it on Android and iPhones as well. “Google Express helps you get your shopping done fast. You can use the Google Express app or website, Google Home or Android TV (we’ll get to that) to shop from retailers like Target and have the items delivered to your door,” Target said in a blog post. “The service is available across the continental U.S. ... and requires no shipping or service fees for delivery when you meet a retailer’s order minimum. And since the Target assortment comes straight from store shelves, your orders show up in just two days.” (See also: Why Amazon Is Losing to JD.com and Wal-Mart.)
Shopping By Talking
In 2018, the retailer said customers will be able to pay with their Target REDcard and get 5% off most purchases and free shipping when they use Google Express. Customers will also be able to link their Target.com and Google accounts so Google Express remembers their favorite items and can tell a Google Home device to reorder, say, paper towels or cereal. “We’re teaming up with Google to create innovative digital experiences using voice and other cutting-edge technologies to elevate Target’s strength in style areas such as home, apparel and beauty,” Target said in the blog post. (See also: Google Working on Amazon Echo Show Competitor.)
The expanded deal with Target comes at a time when Google is creating an alliance of sorts with other retailers to take on Amazon, particularly in voice shopping. Thanks to the popularity of its Echo speaker, which is powered by Alexa, its digital voice-activated personal assistant, it has been dominating the market. That has prompted Google to push back, using partnerships to become a more formidable competitor. In late August, Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT) announced it was teaming up with Google to enable customers to shop via voice command. Starting in late September, the retailer made hundreds of thousands of items available for sale via voice using Google Assistant. In a blog post, the company said it will be the largest number of items offered by a retailer via Google Assistant. Shoppers are able to purchase items through Google Assistant on mobile phones, its Google Home speaker and eventually other devices. Wal-Mart is sharing the purchase history of consumers with Google so that users can quickly reorder items.
Home Depot Inc. (HD) is also using the Google shopping tool.