Last week, Jeff Bezos famously said that the Amazon Echo was not about shopping. Less than one week later and Google Home is about shopping. You can now purchase items directly from your Google Home, but don’t get too excited. The selection is limited currently to select Google Express partners. There are 43 companies listed as Google Express partners, but Google only lists Costco, Whole Foods Market, Walgreens, PetSmart, Bed Bath & Beyond as part of the current program. It is unclear which of the others are now part of the program. Surprisingly, when asked to order a Pixel smartphone, the response was, “Sorry, I don’t know how to help with that yet.” It did then add “pixel” to my shopping list but the lowercase entry suggests Google Assistant doesn’t recognize Pixel as a product today. When I asked about ordering a Google Home, it offered to sell me one from the Google store.
Voice Assistant Users Like the Shopping Feature
Bezos is right. The Amazon Echo is not only about shopping, but it is one utility that consumers like. Evidence of this was identified when an NPD Group study reported by Techcrunch, “found that owners of the Echo spent around 10 percent more [with Amazon] after they bought the voice-powered smart speaker than they did before.” Google has interest in building its shopping business and no doubt wants to catch up with Alexa’s two-year head start in terms of functionality.
To enable shopping on Google Home, open your app and go into your menu and choose “More Settings > Payments.” This takes you into a Terms of Service screen for Google Assistant and then you can enter a credit card. It is worth noting that the terms and features are governed by Google Assistant which is the brains behind Google Home. This means that the ordering should be available to users whether they are on Google Home or using their Google Assistant app as that becomes more widely available.