The Big Story
Not So Strange Bedfellows
When Alphabet launched Google Express in 2013, it surely expected the service to become bigger and more important than it has. After all, Alphabet does not undertake initiatives to be a laggard making a small impact. With over 30 retail partners including stalwarts Costco, Walgreens, Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl’s and Toys R Us, Google Express is Alphabet’s entry in ecommerce – Amazon’s domain. One could reasonably have forecast that world-class brands and products on a world-class Google technology platform would gain momentum and become a competitive force. Thus far, however, Google Express has unintendedly stayed below everyone’s radar. This week, that just might change.
At the same time that Amazon takes over Whole Foods to make its big splash into bricks and mortar, Google Express has taken an important step in its effort to earn more of the digital commerce pie. Last week, Google announced a partnership with Walmart, representing Walmart’s latest strategy to narrow the digital commerce gap between the biggest bricks-and-mortar retailer and the largest digital one. Starting next month, Walmart’s hundreds of thousands of products will be accessible through Google Express. However, the value of Google Express to Walmart and vice versa is not about express.google.com or even the mobile app, but the next big channel of digital retailing: voice shopping. “When it comes to voice shopping, we want to make it as easy as possible for our customers. That’s why it makes sense for us to team up with Google,” Marc Lore, the president and CEO of Walmart U.S. eCommerce, wrote in his blog post announcing the new relationship.