Skip to main content

Amazon’s Alexa can now order practically anything your heart desires

alexa calling privacy amazon echo
Alexa, Amazon’s digital voice assistant, seems capable of just about anything these days. It can guide you through a seven-minute workout, keep you abreast of the day’s news, order a pizza, switch your living room smart light on and off, and even hail a nearby Uber or Lyft. But those nifty tricks were just the tip of the iceberg, apparently. On Friday — just in time for Fourth of July sales — Amazon announced a new feature for its Alexa-powered Echo speakers and Fire TV stick that will let you kick-start a voice-guided Amazon shopping spree.

Alexa is gaining the ability to search and order products from anywhere within the online retailer’s cavernous warehouses. The functionality is not completely new — Alexa has been able to place orders for items you have purchased in the past. And the voice assistant has been able to tap Amazon’s Choice, a list of offers company curators handpick based on rating, shipping speed, and price, for some time.

But now, its selection has broadened in scope to the “tens of millions” of products across Amazon’s innumerable categories — food, electronics, apparel, and just about every category of goods in between. Running low on paper towels? Shout “Alexa, order a roll of Bounty,” and Alexa will helpfully provide a list of relevant products and their associated prices. Once you verbally confirm the one you want, Amazon’s voice assistant will automatically charge your preconfigured 1-Click payment method and send the item on its way. And, if you ask, “Alexa, where’s my stuff?” it will even give you information about its delivery status.

That is not to say it is holistic: Alexa cannot place orders for  shoes, jewelry, watches, Amazon Fresh, Prime Pantry, Prime Now, or Add-On items. “There are some limitations around things that require sizing like clothes and shoes,” an Amazon representative told VentureBeat. “But, it’s still day one and we’ll be adding more items all the time.”

Voice-guided Amazon shopping is available to owners of Amazon’s Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Tap, Fire TV, and Fire TV Stick, said Amazon, and requires an Amazon Prime subscription.

Impulse buying is only the newest trick in Alexa’s ever-growing bag. Earlier this week, Amazon announced that the platform’s library of apps had cracked the 1,400 mark (up from 1,000 a month ago and 130 a year ago), and that “tens of thousands” of developers were actively developing new ones. That momentum has been fueled largely by Alexa’s burgeoning ecosystem — Amazon has sold a collective three million Echo speakers to date, and more than 10,000 developers have tapped into Alexa Voice Services, Amazon’s free-to-use voice-processing toolkit.

Editors' Recommendations

Kyle Wiggers
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kyle Wiggers is a writer, Web designer, and podcaster with an acute interest in all things tech. When not reviewing gadgets…
What is Amazon Alexa, and what can it do?
Echo 4th Gen speaker on table.

Alexa is Amazon’s interactive voice assistant that can do just about everything. Whether you want to check your calendar, launch your favorite playlists, check the weather, or get the latest info on your local sports teams, Alexa is up to the challenge. Available on Echo speakers, smart thermostats, soundbars, lamps, and lights, and right on your phone through the Alexa app, Alexa makes it easy to streamline your life.

In this guide, we explain where Alexa comes from, exactly how Alexa works, where Alexa gets its name, and more.
Who/what is Alexa?

Read more
The best Alexa skills to use on your Amazon Echo in 2023
Amazon Echo Show 15 Smart Display on a wall.

Your Alexa-enabled device is a standout gateway into the world of smart home automation. Using voice commands and the intuitive Alexa companion app, Alexa owners can control web-connected devices like smart security cameras, door locks, and A/V hardware like the Amazon Fire Stick 4K Max. In addition to schedule management and other great features, did you know that Alexa is capable of many "skills" too?

Alexa skills are small, free apps (though a few do have a subscription fee) you can download to add functionalities to your smart devices. You can install skills to use voice commands to call Lyft, get Alexa to read you a bedtime story, or turn Alexa into a cooking assistant.

Read more
Amazon brings Matter support to 17 Echo devices
Echo Show 15 with base.

Amazon has officially rolled out Matter support to a wide variety of devices, including 17 Echo products, as well as smart plugs, light bulbs, and switches. The company says that this is only “phase one” of the rollout, with Matter heading to even more smart home gadgets in 2023.

According to Amazon, this phased rollout will allow the team to bring Matter support to the most popular devices on the market while ensuring the platform remains stable. The list of products included in phase one is quite extensive and encapsulates some of the most popular products on the market. Echo devices were the primary target of the rollout. Here’s a look at every Echo device that now supports Matter:

Read more