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4 ways your Amazon Echo can help with holiday shopping

From researching gift ideas to purchasing your items, Alexa can be your helper this gift-giving season.

Let Alexa help you shop for friends and loved ones (or yourself!) this holiday season. 
Angela Lang/CNET

Down to the wire on your holiday shopping? Before you panic, ask Alexa for help.

Amazon's voice assistant has plenty of ways to ease your gift-giving anxiety. Alexa can manage shopping lists, hunt down items for sale and even purchase your gifts with one voice command. And if you're worried about your package arriving on time, well, Alexa can care take of tracking that, too. Here's all the ways your Echo device can help with shopping this holiday season. 

Read more: Check out our 2021 Holiday Gift Guide here

Research gift ideas with Alexa

There's no doubt that Amazon's database of products and vendors is vast. Let Alexa sift through the online retailer's massive inventory for you. It could save you time you'd otherwise waste scrolling through countless retailer webpages. Plus, Alexa's search returns may spark new ideas for gift as well.

Start by asking Alexa something simple like, "Alexa, shop for women's scarves" for mom. Perhaps Dad would appreciate a pair of waterproof boots. What about stocking stuffers for the kids?

Regardless of what you're shopping for, Alexa will compile a list of items to match your request. This process is particularly handy if you use one of Amazon's smart displays.

On the Echo Show or Echo Dot, Alexa pulls up a product list 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.

Read more: Best smart home gifts for 2021


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

Screenshot by Brian Bennett/CNET

Build a shopping list with Alexa

When browsing Amazon products with your Echo, you can keep track of promising gift items with a shopping list. Say, "Alexa, add this to my shopping list," which will put the product you're viewing into the list associated with your Amazon account.

If you haven't yet started searching for gifts, but want to keep track of ideas you have, create a custom list with Alexa. To get started, say, "Alexa, create a gift list," and then something like, "Alexa, add golf clubs for dad to my gift list."

Read more: Every Alexa command for your Amazon Echo speaker or display available now


"Alexa, add the Echo Dot to my gift list." 

Angela Lang/CNET

Purchase items with Alexa

After finishing off your shopping lists, it's purchase time. And Alexa makes as easy as can be. In fact, it's as easy as saying, "Alexa, check out [name of product]."

But first you must enable voice purchasing on your Echo device. Here's how. 

Start by opening the Alexa app. Tap the More icon and select Settings > Account Settings > Voice Purchasing. Then toggle on the button to on. 

Voice purchasing also requires you to enable 1-Click ordering. To do this, open the one-click settings page on Amazon. It will take you to an Amazon page displaying your 1-Click payment setting. Look for the box that says if 1-Click is enabled or disabled and turn it to on. Here, you can enter or edit the credit card information you wish to use.

For extra protection, you can enable Alexa to require a four-digit passcode every time you use voice purchasing. To do this, go to the Voice Purchasing page and toggle the voice code button to on. Type in your desired four-digit code in the Require confirmation code field. Alexa will then ask for that code each time you purchase by voice. 

Track your packages with Alexa 

Since this is Amazon we're talking about, Alexa can keep track of the purchases you've made with the massive online retailer.

Say, "Alexa, where's my package?" "Alexa, track my package" or simply, "Alexa, where's my stuff?" It'll supply your order's current shipping status. Additionally, you can choose to receive shipping notifications for all your orders. In the Alexa app, go to Settings > Notifications > Shipping notifications.

Do you know of any more ways Alexa can help you shop? Let us know in the comments. In the meantime, check out these 10 best Christmas activities for your Amazon Echo