Google and Walmart are partnering to get a better foothold against Amazon, and there are some lessons hoteliers can take away from this.
Pay attention not only to what Google and Walmart are doing, but how and why they are doing it.
Google will begin selling Walmart products through its Google Express, the New York Times reports, the first time Walmart has sold anything online outside of its own website. And both see an opportunity working together to challenge Amazon’s online retail dominance.
The article notes Amazon is likely too big to topple, but the companies said their partnership isn’t about what any of the companies are doing today; rather, it’s about where online shopping is going. They expect Walmart customers to eventually buy things they’ve ordered before through Google’s digital assistant.
“The eventual plan is for Walmart customers to also shop using the Google Assistant, the artificially intelligent software assistant found in smartphones running Google’s Android software,” the article states.
This will allow customers to link their Walmart accounts to Google, opening up shopping history and behavior up to the tech giant, which in turn will allow it to better predict their shopping needs in the future. More than 20% of smartphone searches are done through voice, Google told the newspaper, so it expects voice-based shopping will soon arrive.
Later in the story, an executive for a brand consulting firm stated that Walmart can’t lose on the low cost proposition, “but convenience, convenience that is where the game lies.”
There’s more about the actual online retail offerings in the article, but I think we’ve covered the main points hoteliers should take from this partnership.
Google and Walmart each understand they can’t do it on their own, so they’re partnering together to improve their chances. Hotel companies have already recognized this, as we’ve seen from all of the consolidation activity we’ve seen over the past two years.
The two see where they stand and know they can’t take on Amazon headfirst as they currently exist, which is why they’re looking ahead to evolution of mobile shopping and the adoption of voice-based shopping to develop a better strategy. If they’re able to introduce the concept of shopping for Walmart products through Google’s voice technology early enough, it has the chance to become widely adopted among the general public.
Added to that is the convenience factor. Mobile shopping is growing in popularity and will soon become the norm for just about anything that can be purchased online. Throw in voice commands to buy a product, something as simple as opening the digital assistant app and telling it to order something, seems much easier to do than opening the Walmart or Amazon app and then searching for the item and having to click through a series of buttons (which, honestly, is not that difficult of a task considering how many parents have discovered their children accidentally ordered something on their phones).
It’s not about beating the best at their game, at least not currently. It’s about looking ahead to see what is possible and exploring the opportunities to get in front, or at least near the front of the pack. Google and Walmart know they can’t necessarily top Amazon with its hundreds of millions of sales every year, but they can become better competitors and improve their own businesses.
What lessons are you taking from this partnership? Are there others lessons or partnerships you think are just as important to know? Leave a comment below or reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or @HNN_Bryan.
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