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Walmart launches a ‘Googlemart’ to compete with Amazon

BENTONVILLE, AK: August 23, 2017. Walmart is partnering with Google to launch voice shopping for its U.S. customers via Google Assistant starting in late September.

Marc Lore president and CEO Walmart U.S. eCommerce, said one of the primary benefits would be the ability to build a basket of previously purchased everyday items – which is why the company is integrating its 'Easy Reorder' feature into Google Express.

Next year, the company plans to leverage its 4,700 U.S. stores and fulfillment network to enable voice-shopping customers pick up an order in a store or purchase fresh groceries across the country.

Googlemart 1"Our new voice shopping capability, coupled with our core value proposition, including free two-day shipping and the 'Pickup Discount', will give our customers a compelling new way to get what they need at low prices," claimed Lore.

"That's why it makes sense for us to team up with Google," he added. "They've made significant investments in natural language processing and artificial intelligence to deliver a powerful voice shopping experience. We know this means being compared side-by-side with other retailers, and we think that's the way it should be. An open and transparent shopping universe is good for customers."

Walmart U.S. operates over 150 distribution centers, 6,100 tractors and 61,000 trailers nationwide. Each center is more than one million square feet, employs 600 people and handles 200 trailers a day in support of 90 to 100 stores in a 150-mile radius.

By comparison, as of August 2017 Amazon operated 99 fulfillment facilities across the U.S. with 34 more planned for a total square footage of 76.2 million and 30.2 million square feet respectively.

Amazon uses the U.S. Postal Service and third-party contractors for last mile deliveries and has announced it will close on the purchase of its first bricks-and-mortar investment – Whole Foods Market – on August 28.

The company said it would eventually integrate Amazon Prime into the Whole Foods Market point-of-sale system for Prime members to receive "special savings and in-store benefits". Meanwhile from next Monday these will include lower prices on bananas and other fruits and vegetables, beef, chicken, apples and butter.

"The two companies will invent in additional areas over time, including in merchandising and logistics, to enable lower prices for Whole Foods Market customers," according to a statement.

Amazon North America reported net sales of US$23.37 billion for Q2 2017 ending June 30 and net income of US$702 million. Walmart U.S. second quarter revenue was US$78.7 billion and operating income was US$4.6 billion.

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