[eMarketer] Walmart bets on SMS shopping
Walmart is testing an SMS-assisted ecommerce tool called “Walmart Text to Shop,” in an expansion of its conversational commerce functionality, the company recently announced.
Walmart has tried—and failed—to launch text shopping before. It launched a shopping service called Jetblack in 2018, a $50-a-month subscription that let customers text in orders to be fulfilled same- or next-day.
Text to Shop is free and more broadly applicable than Jetblack.
Instead of using professionals to parse customers’ orders, it will likely use AI and customer data.
That’s how Walmart parses orders for its voice shopping tool, Walmart Voice Order. The tool launched in 2019 in partnership with Google and Apple. It uses natural language processing and data to make sense of orders; for example, if a customer adds milk to their cart, it uses past orders to figure out which brand of milk they probably want.
eMarketer posits that voice shopping is rapidly gaining popularity. Juniper Research estimates that worldwide voice-assisted ecommerce sales will hit $4.6 billion this year—and then more than quadruple to $19.4 billion by 2023.