Walmart has partnered with Apple to make voice ordering of groceries available via Siri, the tech giant’s virtual assistant.
Called the Siri Shortcut for Online Grocery, the service brings Walmart Voice Order functionality to the Apple platform, including mobile and smart home devices as well as car applications. Apple users can now tell Siri to add items to their Walmart Online Grocery cart by saying the words, according to Walmart.
“We’re proud to announce that partnering with Apple, we’ve made Walmart Voice Order available on Siri. We are always looking for new ways to bring our customers the best experiences when buying Apple products from Walmart and when using their Apple devices every day,” Tom Ward, senior vice president of digital operations for Walmart U.S.; Ashley Hubka, senior vice president of corporate strategy and development; and Janey Whiteside, chief customer officer, said in a blog post yesterday announcing the Siri Shortcut for Online Grocery.
“It feels a little like magic on an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, HomePod or in the car with CarPlay,” they added.
To place grocery orders via Siri, customers open the Walmart Grocery App and click on “voice shopping” in their account page. Next, they pair their Walmart account with the new Siri Shortcut and then ask Siri to start adding items to their Walmart Online Grocery cart. To select items, shoppers say “add to Walmart” and then name the product they want. Customers then place their order, and Walmart personal shoppers pick and pack their groceries for pickup or home delivery.
“We know when using voice technology, customers add items to their cart one at a time over a few days rather than shopping for the entire week all at once,” Ward, Hubka and Whiteside said. “Apple and Walmart make that simple by allowing users to participate wherever they are in their grocery shopping journey, on whichever Apple device they’re using.”
Walmart introduced Walmart Voice Order in April on Google’s virtual assistant platform, Google Assistant.
“Walmart Voice Order now works across leading voice assistants. Pair that with the reach of Online Grocery Pickup and Delivery, and nearly 80% of the country can order groceries by just saying what items they need,” according to Ward, Hubka and Whiteside.
As an artificial intelligence platform, Walmart Voice Order provides a better experience the more customers use it, Walmart noted. Information from their purchase history enables the service to more quickly and accurately identify the items they want. For example, if customers say, “add orange juice to my cart,” the orange juice product they buy regularly will be selected. So instead of having to specify “Great Value organic orange juice with no pulp,” they would just have to say “orange juice” and that particular item would go into their cart.
“We built Walmart Voice Order with customers in mind,” Ward, Hubka and Whiteside said in the blog. “We designed the entire experience for voice shopping to help save time in the kitchen, in the car or on the go. We know customers are busy and we’re here to help.”
The new voice service comes as Walmart accelerates the build-out of its online grocery offering.
Last week, the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer began the national launch of Walmart Delivery Unlimited, a subscription-based, no-limit delivery option for its online grocery service. Announced in September, the program enables customers to pay an annual $98 fee or a monthly $12.95 fee to make unlimited grocery orders for purchases of $30 or more. Plans call for Delivery Unlimited to be rolled out to 1,400 stores — in all 200 metropolitan areas where the Walmart Grocery Delivery is available — following a pilot of the service in Houston, Salt Lake City, Miami and Tampa, Fla., in June.
In October, Walmart also kicked off its InHome Delivery service, in which associates can deliver groceries directly to a customer’s kitchen or garage refrigerator. Unveiled in June, InHome Delivery is now available to more than 1 million people in Pittsburgh; Vero Beach, Fla.; and Kansas City, Mo. and Kan. Customers signing up for the service can get unlimited deliveries for a monthly “introductory” price of $19.95, with a minimum order $30. InHome users also must pay $49.95 for the smart lock device permitting access to their home. Installation is included.
Walmart, too, has continued to extend the reach of its grocery pickup and delivery services. As of the end of its fiscal 2020 second quarter, 2,700 stores offered free grocery pickup and more than 1,100 stores provided same-day grocery delivery. The company aims to have 3,100 stores with pickup service and 1,600 stores with same-day delivery by the close of its fiscal year.