Target Joins Google Express, Google Assistant to Add Voice Shopping Capabilities

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Today Target announced a new, expanded partnership with Google Express, just weeks after its rival competitor, Walmart, launched one of its own. Previously, only select markets could order from Target through Google Express but now that has expanded to include the entire continental United States. The new partnership also gives Target customers the ability to order items through their Google Home device.

Google Assistant Shopping Capabilities Coming Soon to Smart Phones

Target’s announcement also coincides with Google’s announcement that voice shopping through Google Express is coming “soon” to select Android and iOS devices. This will allow users to order from over 50 retailers using the Google Assistant on their phone and significantly expand the consumer base for Google Express.

Besides not being Amazon, Google greatest asset for retailers is the Google Assistant, which resides on millions of Android devices. The new Google Assistant shopping feature will allow Google Express retailers to reach millions of consumers on their smart phones. Another bonus is they do not have to develop a voice assistant or a smart phone app to do so.

Is the Smart Phone the Future of Voice Shopping?

Right now, the only way to order Google Express through the Assistant is on a Google Home or Android TV device. Convenient, but your Google Home is not always with you. However, your smart phone is. Target’s Chief Information Officer and Digital Officer Mike McNamara, believes the future of voice shopping is on smart phones and other devices, not necessarily smart speakers:

Who knows if these specialized devices will even exist in a few years time? Or whether it’s a piece of software than runs on your TV or on your telephone.”

But what McNamara fails to see is that smart speakers are the gateway to getting consumers comfortable with voice shopping. Amazon has certainly seen the benefits, as Alexa users are more likely to increase their spending on Amazon after purchasing an Alexa-enabled device. That being said, he does have a point. It certainly is easier to ask the voice assistant on your phone to order your favorite flavor of La Croix from Target rather than going online or downloading yet another smart phone app. And more people own an Android phone than a Google Home, which will certainly increase the number of consumers who use their Google Assistant to shop by voice. But let’s not forget it all started with the smart speaker which also has an advantage in being where consumers spent most of their time – at home. Don’t count them out just yet.

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