Lisa Lee Freeman
Watch out for this hot new way to shop!
Walmart announced this week that it’s teaming up with Google Express to offer personalized voice shopping starting next month. So soon you’ll have a choice when you get the urge to shop while you’re sitting on your couch or toilet: You can call out for Google or Alexa. And Walmart’s “Easy Reorder” feature will make it even easier to order your usual groceries. According to Walmart, it will also offer “highly personalized shopping recommendations based on previous purchases.” You just have to link your Walmart account with Google Express and—bingo!—you’re up and running if you’ve got Google Assistant on your phone (it works on Androids and iPhones via an app) or a Google Home device.
Voice shopping can make buying stuff super fast and easy, but it can also make you a super lazy shopper. Odds are, if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you probably already order some things without comparing prices or checking for coupons, especially if you’ve subscribed to automatic reordering or use one of those cute Amazon Dash buttons. And that can lead to spending more than you need to over and over again on things you buy often.
And here's something to keep in mind if you use Google Express: Prices might be different on that service than they are on the websites of the retailers listed on the app. For example, I saw a box of Kirkland almond milk at Costco for $10.39 on Google Express that was $14.99 at Costco.com. And a box of Special K was $3.99 vs. $4.19 on Target.com. So the price difference can work in your favor, but the fact that there was a price difference made me think that you should definitely shop around. And I did see some Google Express app reviews complaining about markups on Costco items. (Also, you'll need to consider shipping fees if you don't spend the minimums required.) I’m excited to check out how Walmart’s prices will compare when the service goes live in September.
Bottom line: Faster isn’t always better, especially if you’re looking to make every dollar count. But the good news is that Walmart is the low-price leader when it comes to groceries and Google Express lets you compare prices from different major retailers. So voice shopping won’t necessarily cost you more. But however you shop—by voice, computer, phone, or car—you should always shop around, and check for deals and coupons.