Here's How Google Is Helping Retailers Take Action Against Amazon with Voice Tech

brought to you by WBR Insights

Consumers today are looking for more convenience than ever before when it comes to shopping. As footfall to physical stores continues to dwindle, many people are less concerned with the shopping experience for everyday items than they are with being able to acquire them quickly and conveniently, and then get on with their day.

Mobile searches for "where to buy..." have increased over the last couple of years by nearly 85%, and 44% of people who use a voice activated speaker at least once a week say they do so to order everyday products and groceries.

However - and here's the rub - a huge proportion of these searches end up with a purchase from that undeniable behemoth of online retail, Amazon--a fact that is leaving other local retailers and brands in the dust.

This has led Google to come up with a way for other retailers to combat Amazon - by enabling consumers to source products from local retailers, rather than the alternative.

Google Shopping Actions

With its new Shopping Actions program, Google has come up with a way to use its existing voice powered search engine to empower consumers with more choice about where they source their products from, while still maintaining the level of convenience they expect.

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Using their Google Home device, shoppers can add products to a basket as they walk around the house, essentially replacing the concept of the shopping list. You may be cleaning your teeth in the bathroom when you see that you're running low on toothpaste, so you use your voice to add a fresh tube to the list. Then, when downstairs eating breakfast, you might add some coffee, cornflakes, and so on.

When you're ready to check out, it's all done with your voice. You can select home delivery from your local store if available, or arrange to collect the goods yourself. It's a bit like having your very own store assistant following you around the house, helping you with your everyday shopping requirements.

"Our guests love the ease and convenience of making their 'Target Run' without lifting a finger by using voice interface," said Target's Chief Information and Digital Officer, Mike McNamara. "And since the orders are shipped from a nearby Target store, they'll have their items delivered to their home in just two days. This is just the beginning for Target and Google. Through our partnership, we'll continue to add new benefits to help guests save time and money. Shoppers will soon be able to link their and Google accounts, creating a more personalized and intuitive shopping experience."

If omnichannel retailing refers to bringing together the digital and physical retail worlds, then what will we call it when the customer's own home is brought into the mix as well?

Benefits of Shopping Actions to Retailers

For many, anything that keeps consumers away from Amazon and shopping with local brands and retailers is to be considered a success. However, the benefits of Shopping Actions go far beyond that.

Customers may be alerted to local businesses they weren't even aware of, and, inspired by what they've seen online, may wish to pay a visit to a brick-and-mortar store for themselves. Google's powerful software includes machine learning, AI, and recommendation building, and can help turn one-time buyers into repeat customers by staying in touch and coming up with related products for them to buy.

Whatever kind of retailer you are, the secret to success as we approach 2020 is to make yourself available to customers, whichever way they choose to shop.

"Our job is not to tell customers they have to call us or visit us in a certain way, but to actually be where the customers have chosen to be," said Chief Marketing Officer of 1-800-Flowers, Amit Shah. "If we can make it a one-stop shopping experience, we must. On Shopping Actions, you can buy something from Costco for yourself but at the same time deliver a gift from to your niece who is graduating high school. From the customer's point of view, it provides a very seamless multi-channel and multi-mindset experience."

Final Thoughts

When it comes to the stores of the future, it's no longer enough to think in terms of omnichannel, digital, retail, etc. Retailers must instead adopt a far more flexible outlook on the best way to bring customers to them. With Google Shopping Actions and voice technology, there's now one more extremely powerful tool with which to achieve this.

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