‘Alexa, Help Me Shop for the Holidays’: 5 Ways to Use Your Echo Device to Buy Gifts

This story is part of Home TipsCNET’s collection of practical tips for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.

The holiday season is here and Christmas will be here before you know it. If you’re feeling down about holiday shopping, don’t panic — Alexa can help. Make the gift shopping process easy and efficient by using your Amazon Echo device.

Instead of fighting through the crowds at stores or switching between hundreds of store web pages, you can use Amazon’s voice assistant to ease your gift-giving worries from the comfort of your own home.

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Alexa can manage your shopping list, give you a curated selection of gift ideas, hunt for the best holiday deals, track your shipped packages and help you shop for those hard-to-buy-for loved ones. Here are five ways your Amazon Echo device can help with shopping this holiday season and the Alexa voice commands you can use to shop. For more, here’s a complete guide to it shopping by voice with your Echo device again 10 Alexa hacks to get you into the Christmas spirit.

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1. Research gift ideas with Alexa

Amazon’s database of products and sellers is beyond huge, so let Alexa prepare you for the largest inventory of online retailers. It can save you the time you would have wasted scrolling through the web pages of many vendors. Plus, an Alexa search can result in new gift ideas, too.

Start by asking Alexa something like, “Alexa, buy women’s scarves” for mom. Maybe dad would appreciate some waterproof boots. What about baby stockers? Regardless of what you’re shopping for, Alexa can put together a list of items that match your request.

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This process is especially useful if you use one of Amazon smart displays. You have The Echo Show or The Echo Dot, Alexa pulls out a list of products in seconds. The voice assistant then describes the first few products. You can buy items immediately or view them later within the Alexa mobile app.

shopping list in the Alexa app

Access your Alexa-created gift lists in the Alexa app.

Screenshot by Brian Bennett/CNET

2. Create a shopping list with Alexa

When browsing Amazon products with your Echo, you can track promising gift items with a shopping list. Say, “Alexa, add this to my shopping list,” which will add the product you’re viewing to the list associated with your Amazon account.

If you haven’t started searching for gifts, but want to keep track of the ideas you have, create a custom list with Alexa. To get started, say, “Alexa, create a gift list.” Then start with something like, “Alexa, add dad’s golf clubs to my gift list.”

Amazon echo sets holiday bows and packaging

“Alexa, add Echo Dot to my gift list.”

Angela Lang/CNET

3. Look for deals and discounts

With Alexa, saving money can be easy. Just ask, “Alexa, what are my deals?” Or say “Alexa, get me deals on Amazon.” Then the voice assistant will do the job.

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

4. Buy gifts with Alexa voice commands

After completing your shopping list, it’s time to shop. And Alexa makes it as easy as possible. In fact, it’s as simple as, “Alexa, check [name of product].”

But first you’ll need to enable voice purchases on your Echo device. Here is the way.

Start by opening the Alexa app. Tap that The menu icon and select Settings > account settings > Shopping by Voice. Then turn the switch to open.

Voice shopping also requires you to enable 1-click ordering. To do this, open the 1-click settings page on Amazon. It will take you to an Amazon page that shows your payment settings in 1 click. Check the box that says if 1 click is enabled or disabled and turn it on. Here, you can enter or edit the payment information you wish to use.

For added protection, you can allow Alexa to require a four-character passcode every time you use voice shopping. To set your code, go to the Alexa app and tap More > Settings > account settings > Shopping by Voice > Buy Confirmation > Manage. Then open Voice Codetype the four-character code you’d like to use and press Go away. Make sure you remember the code because you’ll need it any time you want to buy something using your voice.


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5. Track your packages with Alexa

Since this is Amazon we’re talking about, Alexa can keep track of the purchases you’ve made through the retail giant.

Just say, “Alexa, where’s my package?” or “Alexa, track my package” or “Alexa, where are my things?” It will provide the current shipping status of your order and when it is scheduled to arrive. Additionally, you can choose to receive shipping notifications for all your orders. In the Alexa app, go to Settings > Notices > Shipping notices. Next, change the notifications you would like. If there is new information, Alexa will notify you.

For more Alexa essentials, see every Alexa command available now and the right reason install an Amazon device in every room at your home. You can also find the actual cost of setting up an Amazon smart home.

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