In a move seemingly designed to combat the threat of Amazon in the Grocery and Home Shopping space, Walmart announced yesterday (23 August) that they’re partnering with Google to power the Google Express service available via Google Home.
While it potentially secures the fulfilment of orders to the growing numbers of people using voice search to purchase, it throws up interesting questions about the approach of brands to being ready for the era of the digital personal assistant.
As we hurtle towards a post-GDPR world where first party data is critical to informing all elements of a brand’s interaction with customers and prospective customers, surrendering control of the experience by powering a service rather than focusing on integrating the functionality into your own seems like a missed opportunity.
Indeed, depending on the uptake of voice search, which ComScore estimates suggest will power more than 50% of searches by 2020, surrendering the interface of some of your shoppers to a third party may cause damage in the longer term.
You miss the traffic insight, lose control of the customer experience and commercially risk getting squeezed and put into a price war with other providers powering the same service (including Target and Costco).
In short, many of the issues that brands have who retail via Amazon, for example.