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Walmart beta tests text-to-shop functionality

Walmart customers will soon be able to text their shopping lists.

The discount giant’s Store No. 8 tech incubator and global tech team are beta testing a shopping experience called “Walmart Text to Shop” with customers in certain areas. According to Walmart, he’s learning when and how customers prefer to use a conversational shopping experience, and he plans to make Text to Shop more widely available in the future.

[Read more: Walmart launches Store No. 8 — but it’s not really a store]

In addition to streamlining the buying process for busy shoppers, Walmart says Shop to Text is also personalized for individual consumers.

“By understanding our customers’ preferences, we also solve the paradox of choice and save them time by serving them what we know they love the most,” Dominique Essig, vice president of conversational commerce, Store No. 8, said in a corporate blog post. “Most importantly, we give Walmart customers the ability to shop wherever they are and communicate naturally by simply asking them what they want, how they want.

Walmart is positioning Shop-to-Text as a step forward in its voice-activated shopping offering. Originally launched in 2017 in partnership with Google, voice-activated shopping allows customers to purchase from an assortment of hundreds of thousands of items available through the Google or Apple voice device. The customer’s voice command will automatically open the Walmart app and add their preferred version of a product (so, for example, a customer could just request milk and receive the brand and size of package they typically order without having to specify it).

Walmart introduced its own voice-activated shopping experience as a direct counter to its main rival Amazon’s Alexa voice-activated device, which also served as a digital commerce platform for many years. Amazon is also starting to make inroads into text-based shopping. As part of its Black Friday promotion in early 2021, Amazon allows US Prime members to send a gift to recipients without knowing their delivery address by selecting the product on the Amazon app, selecting “add gift receipt for returns easy “when checking out, then typing in an email address or mobile number known to the recipient. That person can either accept the purchase or exchange it for an Amazon gift card, without notifying the sender.

“The benefit of conversational commerce is that customers can communicate with Walmart the same way they communicate with friends and family,” Essig said. “Easy, convenient, without needing to learn how to use a new platform. Let’s face it, we’ll never stop trying to do a million things at once. Our hope is that conversational commerce can help relieve the stress of the endless to-do list. “

Walmart operates approximately 10,500 stores and clubs under 48 banners in 24 countries and e-commerce sites. Store n ° 8 is part of Walmart’s overall innovation strategy and pursues opportunities where the company thinks the market goes and is focusing on concepts outside of Walmart’s short-term roadmap.

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