Voice Shopping with Amazon Alexa - All Your Questions Answered

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Amazon Alexa Voice Shopping
Updated: 20th Dec 2019
Published: 22nd Jul 2019
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By Ricky Harewood

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Are you basking in the glory of having Alexa as your personal assistant? Considering how much she can get done around the house, you probably don’t have to lift a finger (you know she can cook now right? No, that's a lie, she can't). But did you know that she can also automate shopping for you?

Well, now you do! But how does it work? Let’s find out everything you need to know about how to shop using Alexa.

Can you shop on Amazon Alexa Echo 

Alexa Voice Shopping is an Amazon service that lets you place orders using voice command through the online retail store. In much the same way as you tell Alexa what you want around the house, you can also tell her what you want to buy using your Amazon Alexa Echo. She will listen and respond, and once you have added all your items to the cart, she will place the order on your behalf. In the following sections, we will go into details about how it all works.

In what countries is Amazon Alexa shopping available?

At the moment, only shoppers in the US, UK, CanadaAustralia India can access and enjoy Amazon Alexa shopping. According to the Amazon site, shopping appears on the list of “Unsupported features for all “International Version” devices.”

Therefore, shoppers can use the feature to create shopping lists but will have to complete orders manually to get the items.

The complete list of features that users outside of those areas cannot access at present includes:
•    Shopping
•    Location-specific information and news
•    Skills from the Alexa Skills store
•    Local traffic and business searches
•    Specific music providers like Spotify


How does Amazon Alexa voice shopping work? 

If you are outside of the US, see the section below: In which countries is Amazon Alexa shopping available?

Before you can start shopping using Amazon Alexa voice control, there are a few things you need to have. They include:

  • An Alexa-compatible device such as the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Spot, Echo Show or Fire TV among others. It is also possible to use the Amazon app (not Amazon Alexa app) on devices such as smartphones.
  • Membership on Amazon Prime. Here’s how to verify whether you have it:
    • On a web browser, log in to www.amazon.com
    • Select Accounts and Lists>My Account
    • Select “Prime”
    • If you already have a membership, you will be able to view your membership information here. But if not, you can join on the same page.
  • A shipping address in the United States
  • A US-supported payment method
  • Amazon 1-click ordering – to verify whether it is enabled:
    • On a web browser, log in to www.amazon.com
    • Select “Payment Options”
    • Select “1-Click Settings”
    • Check if it is enabled. If not, simply enable it

How to shop using Alexa 

Now that you have all the basics in place, let’s figure out how to order using Alexa. To do so, you first need to set up your device. Follow these steps:

1.    Install the Amazon Alexa app from Google Play Store or Apple App Store
2.    Open the app
3.    Tap the three horizontal lines (Hamburger icon)
4.    Click “Settings”
5.    Scroll down to find and select “Voice Purchasing”
6.    Using the slider under “Purchase by Voice” enable the option

Alexa shopping commands 

As with any other Alexa feature, to get your shopping done, you need to know the right commands. With the right Alexa shopping commands, you can create shopping lists, clear them, reorder items and so much more. Take a look at some Alexa shopping commands that will come in handy:

  • Alexa, add [item] to my shopping list
  • Alexa, clear my shopping list
  •  Alexa, reorder [item]
  • Alexa, order [item]
  • Alexa, add [item] to my cart
  • Alexa, where is my order? (This will give you an update status of your pending order.)
  • Alexa, what are today’s deals?
  • Alexa, check prices for [item]
  • Alexa, cancel that order (Using this command, you can remove items from your cart.) When using 1-click Ordering, you have half an hour to cancel orders.
  • Alexa, where’s my stuff? (You will get information about when an order is due to arrive.)

In case you are using a device that does not have a screen, you need to listen to Alexa’s response to your command. She will list available items and their prices. If the device has a screen, she will show you a picture of the items. At this point, you can order via voice control or tap “Buy This.”

Alexa order history 

Alexa keeps track of past orders to make it easy for you whenever you want to buy the same item again. When you order items that you have ordered before, she will suggest a reorder. 
If you have never purchased an item, she will offer recommendations on current deals (Amazon’s Choice). You can even ask, “Alexa, what’s Amazon’s Choice for toilet rolls?”
In case you are not satisfied with the offers she gives, you can request for a list of more items. Once it’s all done, Alexa will ask if you are ready to make a purchase. Respond with a “Yes” if you are and she will add the item to your shopping cart. If you have a PIN code (discussed in further detail below) she will ask for it before processing the order.


Alexa order and Alexa empty shopping cart

Some users choose to add items to the shopping cart and confirm the list before placing the order. After you are satisfied with the items in your shopping cart, all you need to do is say, “Alexa, order items in cart.”

Alternatively, you can cancel an order even before it gets processed by saying, “Alexa, empty shopping cart.”

Amazon Alexa shopping skills 

You can access a lot more functionality from Alexa shopping skills by enabling the relevant Amazon Alexa shopping skills. All you need to do is to know the name of the skill then say, “Alexa, enable [name of skill].” 
It is also possible to search for the skill on the app and tap “Enable” or use your PC to find the Alexa Skills page and enable the one you want. Here are some useful skills for shopping:

  • Daily Deal – This skill reads you the current deals from Amazon. If you like a deal, use voice command to order the item using Alexa.
  • Make My Look – Find matching colours and styles using this styling helper by asking questions like “Which colour looks good with red?”
  • DealSniper – Unlike Daily Deal, this one finds deals from specific brands rather than the whole spectrum of deals. Identify the brand and it will search the web for deals and respond.
  • Ask Peapod – Using this skill, you can order groceries using voice command.
  • What’s the Price – If you want to know an item’s price, this is the skill you need.
  • Gift Genie – If you are not much of a gift whisperer, this skill could cover your flaws. Get recommendations for gifts for your dad, mom and others then purchase the items from Amazon.
  • 1-800-Flowers – Order flowers for one of your contacts by picking a name from your contact list, setting a delivery date and identifying the flower arrangement.

What IFTTT recipes are there for Alexa shopping? 

It is also possible to extend Alexa shopping capabilities using IFTTT (If This Then That) recipes. Take a look at some IFTTT recipes for Alexa shopping:

  • Tell Alexa to Email Your Shopping List – If you are running out the door or already at the store and realize you can’t access Alexa to get your shopping list, all is not lost. Use this skill to ask, “Alexa, what’s on my shopping list?” She will respond by emailing your entire list to you, and optionally, four other people. You can also use this handy skill to send your Amazon Echo shopping list to iPhone via a text message.
  • Order a Domino’s Pizza – Domino’s has created an applet for pizza lovers to get fresh deliveries at a moment’s notice. Using this recipe, you can say, “Alexa, trigger order pizza” and get an order sent to the pizza chain.

Amazon Alexa shopping list 

One of the most convenient aspects of voice-controlled shopping is the Amazon Alexa shopping list. It is so frustrating to have your shopping delivered only to realise you omitted something important.
To avoid that, you can keep adding items to your shopping list as they run out or as you remember them. Once you are ready to shop, simply go through your list and place your order. Let’s explore this further:

How to use Amazon Alexa shopping list 

First, let’s begin by creating a shopping list. Here’s how:
1.    Open the Alexa app
2.    Tap the Hamburger icon
3.    Select “Lists”
4.    “Shopping” will appear at the top with an empty list waiting for you to populate it

Adding Items to your Alexa shopping list

The easiest way to add items to your shopping list is by using the voice commands outlined earlier. You might be in the middle of cooking and you realise you are running out of an ingredient. Simply tell Alexa to add it to the shopping list as you continue with what you are doing.
But if you are on the go, you could add items in the app by following these steps:

1.    Open the Alexa app
2.    Tap the Hamburger icon
3.    Select “Lists”
4.    Click “Shopping”
5.    Select “Add Item”
6.    Type in the name of the item
7.    Tap “Done” to add it to your list

Checking off items on your list

To check off an item using voice command, say, “Alexa, remove [item] from my shopping list.”
If, however, you want to remove multiple items, using the app to check them off is easier than telling Alexa to remove them one by one. Here’s how to do it:

1.    Open the Alexa app
2.    Tap the Hamburger icon
3.    Select “Lists”
4.    Tap “Shopping”
5.    Click on the white circle next to the item you want to check off. It will move to the bottom of the list and grey out.

What hacks are there for Alexa shopping 

Now that we are done with the basics, are there any hacks for Alexa shopping? Consider some of the most useful ones:

Amazon Echo shopping list share 

Wondering how to ask Alexa to email my shopping, to todoist, wunderlist or any other type of list? You can share any kind of list including your shopping list from the Alexa app. Using this feature, you can get your partner to buy the listed items while he’s out. Here’s how to share:
1.    Open the shopping list on your Alexa app
2.    In the upper right corner of the tab, tap the three dots
3.    A menu will appear at the bottom with options including “Share”
4.    Tap “Share” to access your phone’s sharing menu
5.    Choose your preferred sharing method. For instance, if you want to send the Amazon Echo shopping list to phone, you can choose the messaging option.

Amazon Echo multiple shopping lists 

Did you know that you don’t have to use the default shopping list, adding and removing items from it? You can create multiple lists by labelling them appropriately. If you usually buy groceries or household supplies every week, you can use dates for identification. 
You could say, “Alexa, create July 22nd shopping list” and use different dates to start a new list weekly. Keep in mind though that the name of the default list is ‘shopping list’ so you need to use any title other than that. 

Amazon Alexa print shopping list 

Before you go out shopping, you can tell Alexa to print out your shopping list. In order to access this feature, you need to get some information about your printer and enable the relevant skill. Follow these steps:
1.    Find your printer’s email address – check the screens on your printer’s control panel to find the address.
2.    Next, open the Alexa app to find the HP Printer Skill. Tap the Hamburger icon>Skills then type “HP” in the search field. From the search results that appear, select the HP Printer Skill.
3.    Tap “Enable” to turn on the skill
4.    You will get a prompt to add the email address you identified in Step 1.
5.    A prompt will appear letting you know that your HP Printer and Alexa have successfully linked
6.    Use the command “Alexa, ask my printer to print my shopping list”

Can Amazon Echo Alexa read my shopping list 

You can have Alexa read out your shopping list before you confirm an order. Say, “Alexa, what’s on my shopping list?”

She will respond by telling you the number of items that are on the list and reading you the five items that you added most recently. Then she will ask if you want to hear the next five items, read them out to you, ask the same question and so on.


Frequently Asked Questions about Alexa Voice Shopping

Will other list apps work with Alexa? 

Yes. There are countless other list apps that integrate with Alexa seamlessly. They include:
1.    Any.do – This is a to-do list app that has a mobile interface for iOS and Android. It syncs together with Alexa, meaning you can add your shopping list using Alexa voice control and later check it out on the app.
2.    OurGroceries – Using this shopping list app, you can sync up shopping lists across all smartphones in your house. And since it works with Alexa, you can use it for voice-controlled shopping.
3.    Todoist – If you prefer organizing everything under one task manager, this is a great app. You can add items to your shopping list via Alexa and have the list on the app automatically updated.

How to Get Alexa shopping list on Amazon website 

When working on a PC, you can access your Alexa shopping list on the Amazon website add or delete items or place an order. Here’s how:
1.    Go to Amazon.com
2.    Sign in to your Amazon account
3.    Go to the home page and on the top right corner, hover over “Lists”
4.    Select “Alexa Shopping List”
5.    From here you can perform any action you desire

Is there a Shopping list that works across Alexa and Google Assistant? 

Yes. There are a number of shopping list apps that work across Alexa and Google Assistant. They include:
1.    Any.do
2.    OurGroceries
3.    Out of Milk

Can you shop at other shops with Alexa?

Yes. Though the default settings for Alexa automate your shopping through Amazon, you can shop from non-Amazon online stores as well. To do so, you will need to have an account with the retailer in question then simply tell Alexa what you need.

Here is how to get started:
1.    Open the Alexa app
2.    Tap the Hamburger icon 
3.    Select “Skills”
4.    Tap “Categories” and select “Shopping”
5.    Check out the retailers you can shop from using Alexa. Some of them are Starbucks, REI, Best Buy, RedBox and eBuy among others.

Alexa shopping/purchasing security and controls 

The ease of shopping using voice control comes with its own set of challenges. Keep in mind that Alexa is not perfect and she could mishear an order. She could even pick up parts of the conversation and place an unauthorized order for items you do not need.
Fortunately, there are controls and security settings to mitigate such concerns and ensure a stress-free shopping experience.

Returning/Removing Accidental Orders
Whenever you place an order, you have half an hour to cancel using the voice order, “Alexa, cancel my order.”
In case you fail to do so within the allotted time frame, you can visit the Amazon Returns Center to arrange for a free return.

Add Items to Cart Instead of Ordering
You can also opt to add items to a shopping cart to review them before committing to a purchase. After doing so, you can check your shopping cart on the mobile app or Amazon site. From there you can fine-tune the list and ensure it is within budget.

 Disable Voice Purchasing
You can fix all your woes by disabling voice purchasing altogether. This could come in handy if you are away and do not want anyone purchasing in your absence. To do so:
i.    Open the Alexa app
ii.    Slide open the left side menu
iii.    Tap “Settings”
iv.    Scroll down to find and tap “Voice Purchasing”
v.    Toggle it off

Set a PIN Code
Avoid unwanted purchases by setting up a PIN code as discussed in more detail below.

How to Track Packages with Amazon Alexa

Alexa can put your mind at rest by informing you of the status of your packages. To access this feature you need to link your email addresses to where you get shipping messages. You can then use Package Tracker to inquire about delivery status. A useful command in this regard is “Alexa, ask Package Tracker when my shipment will arrive.”

Alexa shopping/purchase parental controls 

To avoid nasty surprises in the form of giant dollhouses or a truckload of Snickers on your doorstep, it would be wise to set boundaries. You can do so by creating a PIN code to authorize purchases. To do so:
1.    Open your Amazon Alexa app
2.    Tap the Hamburger icon and then select “Settings”
3.    Select “Voice Purchasing”
4.    Use the slider under “Voice Code” to enable the option
5.    Click the box adjacent to “Voice Code” to set a PIN code and then tap “Save”

Anytime you place an order via Alexa voice purchasing, you will need to say the code. That will charge the order to your account and get it delivered. But if you fail to say the code, the item will remain in your shopping cart awaiting confirmation.

Amazon Echo Alexa shopping for different users, multiple devices 

With Alexa Household, different people in your smart home can shop using Alexa on their own accounts. The feature allows for a maximum of two adults, each operating individual accounts. Once you do so, say, “Alexa, switch to [name’s] account” and that account will be in charge.
Similarly, you can use multiple devices across the household to add to your shopping list and place shopping orders via Alexa. The only requirement is to link all of the devices in question to the same account and all will be set.

Using smartwatches with Alexa shopping 

There are a number of smartwatches with Alexa capabilities which allow you to access the shopping function wherever you are. These include:
1.    Martian mVoice Smartwatches
2.    CoWatch 
3.    Samsung Smartwatches
4.    Apple Watch (through the Voice in a Can app)

What is "Amazon's Choice"? 

For things you haven't bought before, Alexa may recommend Amazon's Choice products, which are well-priced products available to ship immediately.

How can I avoid unintended purchases? 

Using the Alexa app you can set up a 4-digit voice shopping code. This will prevent unintended purchases using instructions here.

What if I order something by mistake? 

If you don’t realize the mistake in time to cancel, you can request a return through the Online Returns Center.

Can I buy multiple items with Alexa? 

Yes, you can buy multiple units of the same product, for example, "Alexa, order two Echo Dots." However, you cannot add different items in the same transaction. Each unique item requires its own transaction.