The home improvement retailer said on Wednesday it would start selling its products online by means of voice commands customers give to Google Home devices and via the Google (goog)Express web site and mobile app. Last month, Walmart (wmt) made a similar announcement, hoping to catch up to Amazon's Alexa capability on its Echo devices and offer a service many competitors do. Other retailers also using Google Assistant include Target and Costco Wholesale.
While Home Depot is one of the most successful retailers in the U.S. currently, with quarter after quarter of sales gains, it can scarcely afford to fall behind in a growing tool people are using to shop. Indeed, according to an eMarketer report earlier this year, some 35.6 million Americans will use internet-connected devices to carry out a voice-direct task at least once a month this year, more than double the number in 2016. Amazon is by far the leader, with 70.6% of those people using Echo devices, compared to 24% for Google Home. Google recently scrapped a $10 monthly membership fee for the service in a bid to close that gap. Other tie-ups between big tech companies and brick-and-mortar retailers included Kohl's new plan to offer floor space to Amazon at some of its stores to showcase Echo and other products, and Best Buy using its store to display Amazon and Google products.
Home Depot is a top 10 online retailer, generating about $6 billion in digital sales in the last 12 months, according to eMarketer.