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Walmart to Boost Grocery Shopping with Google's Voice Support

Zacks Equity Research

Walmart Inc. WMT is always keen on intensifying the retail game by introducing unique and smart solutions that enhance consumers’ shopping experience. Well, sources reveal that this retail powerhouse is likely to team up with Alphabet's GOOG Google for offering voice-activated grocery shopping services. Let’s take a closer look.

Voice-Enabled Services Gain Popularity

Alongside growing reliance on technology, shopping habits have also undergone massive changes. Retail giants like Walmart are striving to capture consumers’ growing enthusiasm for tech-enabled services, by providing advanced shopping features. With voice technology gradually gaining popularity, the company’s latest move to offer voice-based ordering services bodes well.

Walmart’s consumers will now be able to directly add items to their shopping cart by simply talking to the Google Assistant and uttering the words, "Hey Google, talk to Walmart." The added items will remain in the cart and shoppers can purchase them later per convenience. Ordered items can be received through home delivery or by pick-up-in-store facility. This voice-based service can be availed on android enabled devices, iPhones as well as Apple’s smart watches. The service, which is likely to be rolled out this month, will be equipped with sufficient software intelligence to precisely and quickly identify the items ordered by consumers.  

This latest development is likely to aid Walmart in countering Amazon’s AMZN voice-enabled assistants — Alexa and Echo — that enable grocery purchases from Whole Foods. Industry experts opine that even though voice shopping is a nascent arena, the same is likely to attract consumers that look for variety of options to simplify daily activities. That said, we expect Walmart’s strides in this realm to yield results in the long run.

Robust Moves to Strengthen Digital Presence

Walmart continues to bolster digital capabilities and thereby augment its omnichannel revenues. To this end, the company’s partnerships with Microsoft MSFT and Rakuten as well as the buyouts of ShoeBuy, Moosejaw, Bonobos, ModCloth and Jet.com are noteworthy. Also, Walmart’s acquisition of 77% stake in Flipkart is likely to bolster e-commerce sales in the long run.

Moreover, to make online shopping simpler, Walmart focuses on improving delivery systems. To this end, the company has joined hands with Point Pickup, Skipcart, AxleHire and Roadie. The company’s alliance with Jet.com and Blue Apron to provide on-demand meal kits is also noteworthy. Further, Walmart raised its stake in Dada-JD Daojia to 10% to strengthen last-mile delivery services. In earlier developments, the company inked deals with Postmates, DoorDash and Parcel Inc as well as with ride hailing services such as Uber and Lyft for quick online grocery deliveries. Courtesy of such efforts, Walmart Grocery Delivery can be now availed across more than 800 stores.


 

Such moves indicate that Walmart is constantly striving to bolster omnichannel presence and evolve as a one-stop shop for customers. All said, we expect this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company to continue with strategies that help it maintain firm footing in the retail space. Notably, Walmart’s shares have gained 3.4% in the past three months compared with the industry’s 1.8% rise.

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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