RBTE 2017: Tesco launches voice ordering through Google Home

Tesco has teamed up with Google Home to enable its customers to add products to their home shopping basket by using their voice.

Paul Wilkinson, head of technology research at Tesco Labs, said: "Voice will have a very exciting future and an impact on retail that is very interesting." Shoppers simply ask Google Home to buy an item and it is added to their online shopping basket.

The clever element, according to Wilkinson, is that it hones the required product down by taking into account a customers' favourites' list and the regular items they buy. "It prioritises these in the search results and so can be very specific on the products it adds to their basket," he said.

This voice-ordering capability is made possible by the IFTTT (If This Then That) platform that connects Google Assistant with a customer's Tesco home shopping account. Tesco has been using the channel to enable customers to automatically put things in their basket depending on certain requirements being met. One of the most popular has been adding a particular product when it drops below a defined price.

The use of voice is just one area of experimentation being undertaken by Tesco. The grocer, which lets customers use a barcode scanner to scan an item and have it added to their baskets, is taking an interest in the work being undertaken by Amazon with its Go store in Seattle.

"The store is really interesting. We've also been looking at this. Amazon has given this area a real shot in the arm. For a small format store, if you can get the technology to work then it's certainly got legs," said Wilkinson.