Walmart’s Google Home shopping partnership goes live
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart has officially gone live with voice shopping on the Google Home platform.
As announced in August, the discounter is partnering with Google to allow its customers to shop for Walmart items through voice via Google Assistant, the search giant's online shopping platform that lives on its smart speaker. On Wednesday, the partnership went live, with more than 2 million Walmart items available through voice.
(Read more about the partnership here.)
In addition, Walmart noted in a blog on its website that Google is launching the Google Home Mini, a voice-activated speaker that sells for only $49.
"Everyone should have access to a virtual assistant, especially when it can be a tool to help make shopping more convenient," Walmart stated. "That’s one of the reasons why we’re excited about the launch of the Google Home Mini. With a price tag of $49, it offers an affordable option for consumers who want to experience how a voice assistant can help them with everyday tasks – from getting answers to hands-free shopping.”
Walmart is offering an incentive to encourage shoppers to use voice shopping. Any customer who buys a Google Home or Google Home Mini from Walmart will receive up to $25 off (Between Oct. 4, 2017 and Jan. 15, 2018) a Walmart order when they link their Walmart account to Google Express. By linking their accounts, customers save time and money by receiving recommendations based on their previous purchases made in Walmart stores and on its website, the retailer said.
More retailers step in with Puerto Rico relief contributions
CAMP HILL, Pa. — As Puerto Rico continues to recover from the impact of Hurricane Maria, retailers are continuing to step in with resources to help the island get back on its feet — with all three of the biggest retail pharmacy chains stepping in.
The Rite Aid Foundation announced Tuesday a $150,000 donation to the American Red Cross to help the victims, families and communities in Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Maria.
"Nearly two weeks after being hit directly by Hurricane Maria, a category four storm, the need in Puerto Rico remains great," stated Tracy Henderson, director of The Rite Aid Foundation and charitable giving initiatives. "The Rite Aid Foundation hopes that this donation to the American Red Cross will help the people of Puerto Rico in their time of need and let them know they are not alone as they recover and rebuild."
"We're deeply grateful for the generosity of The Rite Aid Foundation, whose support will help provide immediate assistance to thousands of families affected by this horrific disaster," said Jeri Sims, CEO of the American Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Region. "There is a long, difficult road ahead for those impacted by Hurricane Maria and support from partners like The Rite Aid Foundation is critical to aid in the recovery process."
CVS Health, which has been raising funds from its customers and colleagues since Hurricane Harvey, announced this week that the total raised from that effort was $4 million, and it pledged an additional $6 million of products and supplies. The money will be split between Unidos for Puerto Rico, Rebuild Texas Fund and the Florida Disaster fund, and the products will be distributed to communities most in need, the company said.
Target pilots curbside pick-up
MINNEAPOLIS — Target is testing curbside pickup in its home base.
The discounter has launched the service, called Drive Up, at its stores in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. The retailer described the program as the latest example of how Target is using its stores as hubs to help customers shop “on their own terms.”
Here’s how it works: After placing an order in the Target app and selecting “Drive Up,” Target notifies customers when the order is ready to be picked up. Customers hit the “I’m on My Way” button en route to their store, park in a designated spot, and then a Target employee brings the order out to their car.
“Drive Up is our latest effort to make it easier and faster for busy guests to conveniently get what they need, and simply get back to their day," said Dawn Block, Target senior VP of digital.
More than 200,000 items, including home furnishings, toys, electronics, household essentials, non-perishable food, and baby-care, are eligible for the service. Produce and refrigerated or frozen items are not eligible, the StarTribune reported, and no minimum order is required for the free service.
The Drive Up program was built in house by Target.
"It’s a test-and-learn program, so we’ll continue to fine-tune and enhance the experience, and will look to expand to more guests in the future," Target stated.