Walmart launches voice order service on smart devices

US grocery giant Walmart is launching a voice order service for online deliveries via smart devices such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa.

A blog posted by Tom Ward, Walmart’s senior vice president of digital operations, announced that the Walmart Voice Order service will launch this month.

To activate the service, customers say the command, “Hey Google, talk to Walmart”, prompting the Google Assistant to add items directly to their Walmart Grocery cart.

Ward said the retailer was using its new voice ordering capabilities to “build across platforms with partners like Google”.

The artificial intelligence (AI) powered devices can draw on data from customers’ previous purchases in order to improve order accuracy and enable machine learning so that the devices ‘learn’ a customer’s shopping habits and only order the size or quantity included in a usual order.

For example, if a customer says “add milk to my cart”, the AI will detect that the customer normally orders organic or skimmed milk rather than any other kind of milk.

In addition, Ward highlighted the presence of Google Assistant on more than a billion devices, including Smart Displays like Google Home Hub, Android phones, iPhones and watches, meaning customers are not restricted to ordering from the home device, and can place their voice orders on the move.

Ward wrote: “We know when using voice technology, customers like to add items to their cart one at a time over a few days - not complete their shopping for the week all at once - so, this capability aligns with the way customers shop.

“It’s cross-platform, which means customers can use any device utilizing Google Assistant, and allows for items to go directly to a customer’s shopping cart, making this capability one of a kind,” he continued, adding: “We’re kicking off the work with Google, adding others to the mix as time goes on.”

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