Walmart customers have had two options for getting groceries for a while now: they could go to the store and select products themselves or order online and have somebody pick them and deliver to their car or house.
Are there more changes in ways of grocery shopping?
Today there is a third way to get your groceries – via voice command. All you have to do is say to your Google assistant: “Hey, Google, talk to Walmart” and add items to your electronic cart. For now you can add items one at a time over a few days. This will be improved as time goes on and technology becomes more sophisticated.
For example, once Google assistant will get your specific milk order one time, in the future you will just have to say “milk” and it will know what kind of milk you are talking about.
Has Walmart been changing lately?
Walmart has been on a mission in recent years. The retailer is investing heavily in food and organic products. Expanding healthy options and introducing “designer” fruits is paying off as proven by $200 billion grocery sales per year, which is ½ off the entire revenue.
This move from Walmart is not original and comes as an answer to Amazon’s Echo Whole Foods voice grocery order service.
Is Voice Order available everywhere?
Walmart Voice Order is available only at those locations that have grocery store pickup and delivery. Store pickup is offered at 2,100 locations, delivery – at 800 locations. According to recent research from Cowen, only about 13% of Walmart shoppers use curbside pickup.
Do all people like using voice commands?
Voice command usage is getting more and more popular, but most people still use it for creating shopping lists and not actual grocery ordering. But all of that is likely to change, and fast.
Walmart Voice Order is focused on cart replenishment instead of completing the purchase, making it more comfortable for people today. Not all consumers are ready for voice ordering just yet.
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How should brands react to such changes?
Brands that want to be successful and stay relevant should find ways to integrate voice capabilities into people’s lives. This strategy will pave the way for consumers to seamlessly go from online ordering to voice ordering with time and feel confident doing that thanks to brand trust
Everything is about convenience these days, so many merchants are trying to incorporate more and more technology into their processes and daily operations to help themselves and help consumers.
What are other new technologies that are likely to surface in the near future?
Last year Kroger announced that it has plans for grocery delivery by an autonomous vehicle that will be designed like a Formula 1 racing helmet. Robomart, a Santa Clara based start-up, beat Kroger in ideas by announcing plans to create an on-demand, remote-controlled grocery store on wheels. Such vehicle would come to consumers’ homes and let them shop just outside their yards. Robomart founder Ali Ahmed hopes to collaborate with grocery stores, lease vehicles from them, and create a self-driving grocery fleets.
Given such new inventions, plans, and changes, Walmart had no other choice, but to get on a voice order bandwagon. And the retailer has big shoes to fill – although it had a longer time to establish its grocery presence in consumers’ minds, young companies like Amazon are faster with technology and tools like Amazon Go and Alexa ordering. Those two really gave Amazon some serious competitive advantage.
Walmart’s newest voice ordering addition will help it stay competitive by meeting consumer needs and saving on its own resources. Many legacy grocers don’t have such technology or plans for it in the future, further widening the competitive gap.
While the new technology is good, Walmart should monitor its usage, gather results, do the calculations, and install new improvements if needed to really get benefits. You have to have customers actually using the voice technology to deem it useful.