After porting its virtual assistant Alexa to the Amazon app for iOS recently, Amazon is expanding Alexa's functionality once again by adding support for Prime Now deliveries through Amazon's Echo line of smart speakers.
Alexa Now Supports Prime Now Orders
Those subscribed to Amazon's Prime service can now order through Prime Now, a two-hour delivery service, via Alexa, alongside its newer alcohol delivery service. The new functionality will be supported in cities where it's available. Impulsive purchases just got more simple to perform.
Compatible Echo And Alexa Devices
According to Amazon, voice-enabled Prime Now deliveries through Alexa will be available on Echo, Echo Dot, Tap, Fire Tablet, and Fiore TV devices. Users can even order multiple items all at once, and Alexa can spit out recommendations to go with the orders. The service will provide the next available two-hour delivery window when orders are placed.
"Bringing Prime Now to Alexa voice shopping combines two of the most innovative shopping technologies available for an experience that our customers are going to wonder how they ever lived without," said Assaf Ronen, Amazon's VP of voice shopping.
Prime Now lets users "refill everyday essentials" when running low on supply, such as diapers, detergent, toilet paper, and a plethora of other household items.
Prime Now, however, is currently only privy to 30 U.S. cities, while the alcohol delivery service is more limited, available in just three cities: Seattle, Columbus, and Cincinnati. Of course, Amazon could very well expand the functionality to more cities down the road.
Since its launch, Amazon's Echo devices, which is powered by Alexa — a smart, voice-enabled virtual assistant — have been in extremely close tandem with Amazon's roster of retail and ecommerce features and services, which lets users order items from Amazon through the use of Echo devices. This is, in part, one of Amazon's methods of lessening the steps involved in getting products to users' doors.
How To Order With Prime Now On Your Alexa
Ordering products through Prime Now on compatible Alexa-enabled devices is no chore. Simply say "Alexa, order [product] from Prime Now." Alexa will then follow through with a list of recommendations within the Prime Now catalogue and, once users confirm, place the order.
Of course, users would need a Prime Now subscription to take advantage of Prime Now deliveries. For alcohol deliveries, they must present an ID or verify their age upon delivery.
These expanded features are proof that Amazon is pushing Alexa front and center as an essential and key part of the core Amazon shopping experience and not just an extra, add-on, or a neat little feature that can be easily discarded. It also gives Amazon the opportunity to prove that its Echo line of products, Alexa in tow, are growing beyond smart home props and are increasingly becoming almost household necessities, at a time when smart home companies are setting the future of connected households.
Amazon Prime currently has subscribers in the "tens of millions" mark, although Amazon is tight-lipped on the actual number. Prime comes with a handful of perks, such as Prime Video, its on-demand video streaming service replete with original content; Prime Music; access to ebooks; and free shipping for a wide range of devices. It costs $99 a year.
Thoughts about Prime Now being added to Alexa? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!