Target joins other retailers in offering voice shopping

Google Home Mini completely loses top touch function

Target joins other retailers in offering voice shopping

"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 fact, Walmart, which went live with voice shopping last week, is integrating its easy reorder feature - which has data on both store and online purchases - into Google Express.

Over the past year, we've made it possible to shop with your Google Assistant across devices.

The Target logo seen on a store in Upper Saint Clair, Pa. Target is jumping into voice-activated shopping as it deepens its relationship with Google, offering thousands of items found in the store.

In essence, the arrangement represents an expansion of Target's existing use of Google Express. Next year, Target shoppers will be able to pick up their online purchases at a Target store where orders are ready in two hours as part of the Google Express program. Soon, it will launch on iPhones and Android phones, so customers can order items, using voice, while mobile.

Other national brands that have formally aligned with Google's voice-activated virtual assistant to accept spoken orders via the delivery marketplace Google Express, including Costco, Guitar Center, Kohl's, L'Occitane, Payless, PetSmart, Road Runner Sports, Sur La Table, Ulta, Walgreens, and Amazon's Whole Foods.

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Google previously charged $10 a month or $95 per year for Express, but recently dropped its membership fee for the service as it struggled to keep pace with Amazon's growth. Wal-Mart was also giving shoppers coupons if they bought a Google Home or Google Home Mini, and linked their Walmart.com accounts to Google Express. These companies all likely see a major threat in Amazon, which now soaks up 40 cents of every dollar spent online in the USA and has become the default search engine for product searches for most Americans, according to researchers. According to Forrester Research, 12 percent of shoppers own some voice device like Echo or Google Home.

Companies, like Wal-Mart and Target are still finding ways to grow with Google, promising more to come.

Most of the capabilities of shopping through Google Express won't be available until 2018.

This will include using voice command to pick up orders in store and using voice shopping to purchase fresh groceries, he said. A full rollout of voice ordering is expected to come to all of Panera's 2,000-plus US locations by the end of the year, the company has said.

More devices are in the hands of shoppers.

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