Google Home has a new skill, shopping! Alexa probably isn’t too worried yet. Google Home costs $4.95 a transaction for 2 day delivery or $95 annually, but without a free streaming video service bundled in:
“On Thursday, Google introduced shopping to its voice-powered assistant, allowing users to order everyday basics from Google Express retailers. Users can shop from more than 50 national or local stores, including Google, Whole Foods Market, Walgreens and Target. While some stores will be available for any shopper, others are limited to certain areas.
For now, users can only place one item per order and can only order things between $4 and $100. To order, just say “OK Google, order paper towels” and then Home will offer a suggestion with a price, including tax. Shoppers can hear a second suggestion by saying “no,” or confirm the order.
Google launched its Express shopping service in 2013 and expanded to cover 90 percent of the continental U.S. in 2016. With a membership, shoppers can order from major stores with same-day, next-day and 2-day delivery, much like with Amazon Prime.
The membership costs $95 per year, but Google Home users can use it for free through April 30. Shopping without the membership costs $4.99 per order, per store. To shop on Google Home, users will go to “More settings” in the app and add their information to “Payments.””
The article points out that Alexa has 3,000 skills which is significantly more than Google Home, but take a look at how easy Google makes it to add a new skill, a child could do it!
According to the Wall Street Journal both Google and Amazon are also working to enable phone calls from Google Home and Alexa, an area where Google is likely to have a significant lead given Google Voice and Pixel.
While retail stores struggle, tech giants continue to find ways to make money by appealing to our laziness. Now if only they could find an eCommerce button that would get rid of all the boxes I have in the garage!
Overview by Tim Sloane, VP, Payments Innovation at Mercator Advisory Group
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