Users of Google Assistant-powered devices like Google Home and Android TV can now shop Target’s web site via voice through Google Express from anywhere in the continental U.S., Google announced Wednesday in a blog post.
The Internet giant added that shoppers also soon will be able to use Google Assistant on some Android smartphones and iPhones to shop Target and more than 50 other Google Express retailers via voice from these devices.
Additionally, Google and Target said shoppers will be able to add their Target REDcards to Google Express to receive 5% off most Target orders, along with free shipping. Target customers also can opt in to receive personalized recommendations and a quick re-order experience based on past Target purchases.
This announcement comes just one week after Google Assistant voice shopping was enabled for Walmart's site, and supporting the capability for two massive U.S. retailers shows that Google is dead serious about giving Google Assistant every chance possible to become the standard for voice shopping outside of Amazon's ecosystem, where Alexa obviously reigns.
These moves also fit with Google's efforts in recent months to upgrade its whole shopping strategy and customer experiences as it tries to keep Amazon within its sights. Google has been losing the shopping search battle against Amazon, so it needs to whatever it can to become an indispensable partner to other retailers.
Bringing Google Assistant voice shopping capabilities to Target represents an expansion on an existing partnership between the two retailers. Target already was a Google Express shopping and delivery partner, and as another component of this latest announcement Target said that next year it will allow shoppers to pick up their Google Express order in stores, often within two hours, rather than having them delivered. Also next year, shipping will be free for Target RedCard users will be eligible for free shipping on Google Express.
But wait, there's more — Target's version of today's announcement ended with this enticing tidbit: "Also, we’re teaming up with Google to create innovative digital experiences using voice and other cutting-edge technologies to elevate Target’s strength in style areas such as home, apparel and beauty."
It's not clear what that means, but these categories represent core strengths for Target and could be another shot across Amazon's bow. Amazon has aggressively moved into apparel as its latest challenge to brick-and-mortar retailers, and has recruited Alexa-powered devices like the new Echo Look for this fight, as well as pairing Alexa with fashion brands like Perry Ellis. Could Google and Target coordinate something similar, or maybe some completely new way of integrating voice shopping, e-commerce capabilities and in-store experiences and support. We'll soon find out.