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Alexa Shopping and Voice Purchasing: A Step-by-Step Guide

Shopping through an Alexa device is easier than ever.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Who actually wants to go to a store to shop these days? Well, at least I don’t. And I’m not alone. In fact, a recent survey of over 30,000 consumers found that 57% of respondents prefer shopping online.

Instead of battling crowds and sifting through clothes racks by hand, simply turn to your Amazon smart devices. It may sound strange, but Alexa can shop for you. With voice shopping and Alexa’s ability to find the best deals with a simple voice command, shopping through an Alexa device is now easier than ever.

Simple enough, right? I’ll walk you through how Alexa can help you shop like a pro.

Read also: The true cost of setting up an Amazon smart home

1. Enable Alexa Voice Purchasing

There are a few basic steps you need to follow before you can shop with your Alexa device. First, you need to register as an Amazon Prime member. It costs $119 a year, but it’s essential for shopping with Alexa. Additionally, a Prime membership comes with many other benefits.

To set up Voice Purchasing, first open your Alexa app. Then press Menu > Settings > Account Settings > Voice Purchases. Activate Voice purchase. Finally, go to 1-Click Preferences on the site and set up a means of payment.

To buy something, say “Alexa, add (item) to my cart.” Alexa will find the item and add it to your cart. When you’re done adding items, say “Alexa, order items from my cart” and confirm.

2. Prevent unwanted Alexa voice purchases

There have been several cases of children ordering items from Amazon without permission. In fact, even a parrot can order treats without any problem. To avoid unwanted purchases, it’s best to be proactive and use two of Alexa’s security features: Voice Code and Voice ID.

One of the best ways to restrict purchases is to set up a four-digit voice code required to authorize purchases.

To set up your passcode, go to the Alexa app and tap More > Settings > Account Settings > Voice Purchase > Purchase Confirmation > Manage. Then activate voice codeenter a four-digit code you want to use and press Goes. Be sure to remember the code, as you will need it the next time you confirm an order.

If you want an extra layer of security, you can set up Alexa Voice ID, so only recognized members of the household can place commands with Alexa.

Start by opening the Alexa app. Faucet More > Settings > Account Settings > Voice Purchase. Then go to Purchase Confirmation and select Manage > Voice ID. From here you can activate and deactivate saved profiles or create new profiles.

3. Let Alexa do the shopping for you

If you know exactly what you want, tell Alexa. Mention the brand, quantity and color. For example, “Alexa, add two black Sharpie markers to my cart.”

If you don’t know which brand you want, don’t worry. You can ask for something non-specific and Alexa will choose an Amazon Prime item for you. For example, if I say “Alexa, put black permanent markers in my cart”, she will choose a Prime item for that category and put it in my cart.

If you have already ordered an item, Amazon will remember your brand preference and add that item brand to the cart. This is true whether you ordered the item on the Amazon site or with Alexa.

4. Ask Alexa what’s in your cart

It’s easy to forget what’s in your cart, so before confirming a purchase, ask “Alexa, what’s in my cart” and you’ll hear the list of products. This will save you from ordering too many items if you accidentally added something twice or buying an unwanted item (we have some tips for that too).

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5. Cancel your Amazon purchases

We all blunder from time to time. It’s okay, and if you make a mistake while shopping with your Alexa device, there’s a way to undo the unwanted purchases.

If you purchased items through Amazon’s 1-Click, you have a 30-minute window to cancel it before it’s completed. To cancel your order, go to your Amazon account on your phone or computer and select Your Orders. Then you will see a list of all your orders. You’ll see an option to cancel items, and from there you can check the box next to each item you want to cancel. When you’re done, choose “Undo Checked Items”.

6. Order Prime Now items with Alexa

You can order Prime Now items through Alexa, but you must make sure to specify that you want the Now service.

Say something like “Order (item) from Prime Now”. If the item is available for two-hour delivery, it will be added to your cart and you will need to order and confirm the item for prompt dispatch.

7. Get discounts and offers with the help of Alexa

Saving money with Alexa is easy. Just say “Alexa, find me deals on Amazon”.

Alexa will list an item for sale and ask if you want to buy it. You can say “yes” to add it to your cart or “no” to move on to the next offer.

Amazon Echo Show

Ask Alexa, “What are my offers?”


8. Get gift ideas with Alexa

Alexa can help you find gift ideas and add them to a list so you can buy them later, which can be a lifesaver during the holiday season. Brian Bennett has a great guide to how to buy holiday gifts with alexa.

Can’t come up with a gift idea, even with her help? You can also order gift cards with Alexa.

9. Use Alexa to track your packages

You can also use Alexa to track your packages once they’re ordered. Just ask “Alexa, where’s my package?” Alexa will tell you when items have been purchased and when they are due to arrive at your doorstep.

You can also have it give you shipping updates automatically by going to the app and tapping Settings > Notifications > Shipping Notifications. Then enable the notifications you want. When there is new information, Alexa will let you know.