Target, Google team for voice-aided shopping and nationwide delivery
MINNEAPOLIS—“OK, Google, order Archer Farms trail mix.”
Shoppers are now able to make their Target runs by saying such commands out loud while using Google’s voice assistant—either through a Google Home device or, soon, through a smartphone.
The Minneapolis-based retailer announced the voice-assisted shopping capability with Google on Thursday and said it would expand its partnership with shopping and delivery service Google Express across the continental U.S. after testing it the last few years in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.
Target, like other retailers, is playing catchup to Amazon, which enabled shopping from its Echo devices (with voice Alexa) more than a year ago.
Earlier this year, Google introduced voice shopping as a feature through Google Home in partnership with Costco, Walgreens, Petsmart and others. In recent weeks, Walmart and Home Depot also have announced similar linkups.
“Voice is becoming an increasingly important way for people to search the internet, and it will become a more and more important means for them to shop,” said Mike McNamara, Target’s chief digital and information officer, in an interview.
While he noted that shopping by voice is still in its infancy, he thinks it is poised to take off and will be an important channel for Target within the next 3 to 5 years.
Amazon’s Echo devices currently dominate the voice-controlled speakers market with 76 percent market share. Google Home has 24 percent, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.
But McNamara noted that Google also announced on Thursday that it will soon be bringing its voice assistant to eligible Android phones and iPhones.
“Google is the best out there in voice when you look at how they’re going to have a voice enablement in more people’s homes than anybody else,” he said.
In using Google’s voice assistant and Google Express, shoppers will be able to shop for about 100,000 items from Target with the exception, for now, of perishable food. Shoppers complete the purchase through the Google Home or Google Express app. The items are fulfilled from local Target stores, and Google’s fleet of drivers deliver them to customers’ doorsteps two days later.
The average delivery time on most orders from Target.com is two to four days. In New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, same-day delivery is also an option through Google Express.
Just like Target.com, delivery is free for orders of more than $35.