Google Express partners with Target, Assistant shopping coming to phones

Vjeran Pavic  The Verge

For example, a shopper might say to the Google Assistant on Google Home: "Google, order me shampoo".

Shortly following the launch of Walmart, Google Express is now adding Target to its growing list of available stores.

Target is jumping into voice-activated shopping as it deepens its relationship with Google, offering thousands of items found in the store except for perishables like fruit and milk.

Also, starting next year, Target shoppers will have the option to pick up their Google Express orders at a Target store, with the items ready in two hours.

"We're teaming up with Google to create innovative digital experiences using voice and other cutting-edge technologies to elevate Target's strength in style areas such as home, apparel and beauty", Target says. For example, after the new year, Target customers will also be able to use their Target loyalty membership through REDcard to get 5 percent off most Target purchases and free shipping when using Google Express.

Target customers will also be able to opt in to receive personalized recommendations and a quick re-order experience based on past Target purchases: so if you want more LaCroix sparkling water or Archer Farms trail mix, your Google Assistant will already know which size and variety you bought from Target last time.

In tandem with Target's roll-out on Thursday, Google has also unveiled plans to grow the number of ways customers can use the Google Assistant.

"At Google, we are focused on continued innovation and making Google Express a platform to help retailers like Target offer consumers a high quality seamless, end-to-end shopping experience", said Daniel Alegre, Google's president of shopping and retail.

In essence, the arrangement represents an expansion of Target's existing use of Google Express. Shoppers who want to reorder their favorites have to link their Walmart account to Google Express. For Google, the deal extends the appeal of its online mall at a time when more shoppers are beginning their online product searches on Amazon. According to Forrester Research, 12 percent of shoppers own some voice device like Echo or Google Home. "Work is underway for Google and Target teams to bring this all to life".

"Next year, we will also leverage our 4,700 USA stores and our fulfillment network to create customer experiences that don't now exist within voice shopping anywhere else", Marc Lore, head of Wal-Mart's USA e-commerce business, said in a blog post.

On Google Home, you can order loads of Halloween candy and paper towels by voice when your hands are full in the kitchen.

Like many retailers, Target has been offering more shopping options.

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