Target is making a big move into Google Express.
After testing out the Google Express delivery service in New York City and California, the big-box retailer said Thursday it's now expanded on the service nationwide, except in Alaska and Hawaii. People can now shop for Target items through the Google Express website and app, and on the Google Home smart speaker via voice shopping. The two companies are also partnering up to build their relationship, with more Target services coming to Google Express starting next year.
Target's push to expand on Google Express comes just ahead of the holiday-shopping season and right after default search engine for product searches for most Americans, according to researchers.last week. These companies all likely see a major threat in Amazon, which currently soaks up 40 cents of every dollar spent online in the US and has become the
Voice-based shopping is still in its infancy, with most consumers not yet used to buying paper towels or shampoo using a smart speaker like Google Home or Amazon Echo. Still, it seems Google, Walmart and Target don't want to see Amazon -- which has a dominant position in smart speakers today -- to run away with the new market. With Google lacking warehouses full of products and Walmart and Target lacking smart speaker hardware, it makes sense for them to combine forces.
The Google partnerships could also give buyers of its smart speakers more selection and help keep up competition in the voice-shopping market. Other stores available nationwide for voice orders on Google Express include Costco, Kohl's and PetSmart. These orders can be made through the Google Home, Android TV and soon on certain Android phones and Apple iPhones.
Next year, Target plans to make its Redcard debit and credit cards available as payment options on Google Express, allowing those card holders to take advantage of their 5 percent discount on orders and free shipping. Those without Redcards can still get free, two-day shipping on orders over $35.
Also starting next year, Target shoppers will have the option to pick up their Google Express orders at a Target store, with the items ready in two hours. Those kinds of buy-online/pick-up-in-store options could help traditional retailers compete with Amazon, though the online seller's purchase of Whole Foods this year could weaken that advantage. Next year, Target shoppers will also be able to link their Target.com accounts with Google for more personalized shopping, a feature Walmart recently rolled out to its customers on Google Express.
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