For Some Ecommerce Options, Building Awareness Is Key

Voice-enabled commerce still little known

Author: Monica Melton

September 12, 2017

The largest retailer in the US and the world’s largest search engine are teaming up with the hopes of putting a dent in the ecommerce leader Amazon.

In August, Walmart and Google forged a partnership that put Walmart’s goods on Google Express, the company’s online marketplace. The agreement also lets shoppers order Walmart products through Google Home, the voice-activated home assistant that competes directly with Amazon’s Echo device.

The next step will be developing consumer awareness. According to a survey conducted by research firm Morning Consult, more than two-thirds of US internet users polled had little to no awareness of the new initiatives.

Consumers can certainly be forgiven for not keeping up with every one of Walmart’s recent digital initiatives, which have included purchasing a raft of ecommerce pure plays such as ModCloth, ShoeBuy, Moosejaw and Bonobos. Meanwhile, the retailer has come up with a string of delivery upgrades and innovations that match or undercut Amazon’s offerings, while also toying with offbeat options like Uber-enabled grocery deliveries and employee drop-offs of packages at customers’ homes.

On the other hand, the fact that—barely a week after the deal’s announcement—even one-third of Morning Consult’s survey respondents considered themselves at least fairly knowledgeable about the option points up growing interest in new ecommerce options.

Meanwhile, awareness of the alliance parallels other research focusing on consumer interest in voice-enabled shopping. A March 2017 survey by Walker Sands Communications found that roughly a third of shoppers said they considered themselves at least somewhat likely to make a purchase via voice-enabled speakers this year.

Nearly half of the survey respondents said they were not at all likely to make a voice-based purchase in the coming year, and another 19% indicated they were somewhat unlikely to do so.

But as Walmart put it when announcing the Google alliance, it is looking to help consumers “shop in ways that they’ve not yet imagined.”