"Alexa, help me shop for the holidays": 5 ways to use your Echo device to buy gifts

“Alexa, help me shop for the holidays”: 5 ways to use your Echo device to buy gifts

This story is part Tips for the houseCNET’s collection of handy tips for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.

The holiday season is upon us and Christmas will be here before you know it. If you’re feeling down on your holiday shopping, don’t panic – Alexa can help. Make the gift shopping process easier and more efficient by simply using your Amazon Echo device.

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

Alexa can manage your shopping lists, provide you with a selection of gift ideas, find the best holiday deals, track your shipped packages, and even help you shop for your hard-to-buy loved ones. Here are five ways your Amazon Echo device can help you shop this holiday season and the Alexa voice commands you can use to shop. To learn more, here is a complete guide to voice purchase with your Echo device and 10 Alexa hacks to get you into the Christmas spirit.

1. Search for gift ideas with Alexa

Amazon’s database of products and suppliers is more than extensive, so let Alexa browse the online retailer’s huge inventory for you. It could save you time that you would otherwise waste browsing through countless retailer web pages. Plus, Alexa search results can also spark new gift ideas.

Start by asking Alexa something like “Alexa, buy women’s scarves” for mom. Dad might appreciate a pair of waterproof boots. What about Christmas stockings for children? Regardless of what you buy, Alexa can compile a list of items that match your request.

This process is especially convenient if you use one of the smart screens. On the echo show Where echo dot, Alexa displays a list of products in seconds. The voice assistant then describes the first products. You can buy items immediately or view them later in the Alexa mobile app.

shopping list in the Alexa app

Access your Alexa-created gift list 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 put the product you’re viewing in the list associated with your Amazon account.

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

Amazon echo carrying on holiday bows and wraps

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

Angela Lang/CNET

3. Look for offers and discounts

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

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

4. Buy gifts with Alexa voice commands

After you’ve completed your shopping lists, it’s time to shop. And Alexa makes it as simple as possible. In fact, it’s as simple as saying “Alexa, watch [name of product].”

But first you need to allow voice purchasing on your Echo device. Here’s how.

Start by opening the Alexa app. Press the Menu icon and select Settings > Account settings > Voice purchase. Then activate the button.

Voice purchase also requires you to activate 1-click ordering. To do this, open the 1-Click settings page on Amazon. This will take you to an Amazon page displaying your 1-click payment setting. Look for the box that indicates whether 1-Click is enabled or disabled and enable it. Here you can enter or edit the payment information you want to use.

For added protection, you can allow Alexa to require a four-digit passcode each time you use voice purchase. To set up your passcode, go to the Alexa app and tap After > Settings > Account settings > Voice purchase > Purchase Confirmation > Manage. Then activate voice codeenter a four-digit code you want to use and press Go. Be sure to remember the code, as you will need it each time you want to purchase an item using your voice.

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5. Track your packages with Alexa

Since this is Amazon we’re talking about, Alexa can track 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 the expected arrival date. Additionally, you can choose to receive shipping notifications for all of your orders. In the Alexa app, go to Settings > Notice > Shipping Notifications. Then enable the notifications you want. When there is new information, Alexa will let you know.

For more Alexa essentials, check out every Alexa command available now and why you should place an Amazon device in every room of your house. You can also discover the true cost of setting up an amazon smart home.

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