Google Goes All In For Voice Commerce.



“OK Google, Order Paper Towels”

Today (February 16th, 2017) Google announced a connection between the Google Home and Google Express [1].  This will allow for Voice Commerce ordering via the Google Voice First device in a similar manner as we find in the Amazon Echo platform.  Currently there are ~43 retailers participating and this number will soon grow.  From Target to Costco, from Walgreens to Whole Food there will be a curated list of products you can ask for.

The user can brand specify or ask for a generic product.  Google Home will than offer a few options based on match and price.  The experience is unlike the Amazon Voice Commerce experience in that there is more opportunity for interaction and dialogue with the system.

A $95 Per Year Membership With Google Express

The exact list of retailers is based on where you live, however some are available nationwide. Google Express may also either offer same-day service, mostly in larger metro areas, overnight service, or only 2-day or 3-day service. Google offers a $95/year, or $10/month membership for Express. Otherwise, delivery fees start at $4.99.

Here is the current list of local and national participating retailers:

  • 99 Ranch Market
  • Bed Bath and Beyond
  • Bluemercury
  • Brickmans Ace Hardware
  • Buy Buy Baby
  • Cole Hardware
  • Costco
  • Fry’s Electronics
  • Google Store
  • Gordon’s Ace Hardware
  • Guitar Center
  • Gymboree
  • Hassett Hardware
  • Kohl’s
  • L’Occitane
  • Logan Hardware
  • Moosejaw
  • Nine West
  • Nob Hill Foods
  • Moosejaw
  • Orchard Supply Hardware
  • Palo Alto Toy & Sport
  • Paragon Sports
  • Payless ShoeSource
  • Peninsula Beauty
  • PetSmart
  • Pier 1 Imports
  • Raley’s
  • Right Start
  • Road Runner
  • Smart & Final
  • Staples
  • Sur La Table
  • Target
  • The Vitamin Shoppe
  • Toys”R”Us / Babies”R”Us
  • Treasure Island Foods
  • Ulta
  • Vicente Foods
  • Walgreens
  • Western Kosher
  • Whole Foods

Simple To Use

To activate the Google Express ability on Google Home you will have to set up a payment method in the Google Home app. The Google Home will currently allow you to buy anything from $4 to $100.  Currently Google Assistant on android devices are not participating in the Voice Commerce program yet, although it is likely they will at some point in 2017.

Barriers For Voice Commerce

To promote this new service, Google won’t charge any service fees when you’re ordering from Google Home until the end of April 2017.  This is quite important as I feel Google may have established too high a barrier at a $95 price point for membership.  This fee is similar to the surcharge banks imposed when they charged customers a fee to use the banks’s own ATM machines out front.  Google needs to be 100% committed to Voice Commerce as there is no doubt that it will fully replace pay-per-click advertisement.  I spoke to this in more details in this Forbes article [2]:

Advertising Does Not Exist In The Voice First World

After about ten years of me presenting this inevitability , indeed now Google (and maybe a few other companies) seem to be aware:

“…one thing that we are all clear about is the days of three top text ads followed by ten organic results is a thing of the past in the voice first world“— Sridhar Ramaswamy, Senior Vice president of advertising and commerce, November 29, 2016

During an investor call on November 29, 2016 Sridhar Ramaswamy, Senior Vice President of Advertising and Commerce at Google, spoke to the coming shift of their business model as voice first device interactions begin to dominate our lives. Web-based search will never fully disappear, but a generation of kids are growing up around the Voice First revolution and fully expect a computer to be something they talk to and talks back.”

I am certain Google will find a pricing model that correctly matches the Voice Commerce opportunity ahead.  These are early days but now Amazon has a direct competitor with Google and soon Apple will move rapidly to Voice Commerce.  Over the arc of the next 10 years you will have dialogues with your devices, appliances, automobiles, retail store shelves and fast food kiosks about Voice Commerce, Google just moved us all one step ahead.





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