Tar­get, Google team for voice-aided shop­ping and na­tion­wide de­liv­ery

Texarkana Gazette - - MORE METRO/STATE ON PAGE 6C | METRO/STATE - By Kavita Ku­mar

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.

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