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The 8 best tips for shopping with Alexa

New to voice purchasing? These tips will get your started.

Voice purchasing using Alexa is a great way to stock up without the hassle of going to the store. With just a command, your Alexa device can add items to your Amazon shopping cart and then purchase and track your order. 

Here's how you can best take advantage of the feature and even save some money.

1. Set up Alexa voice purchasing

There are a few basic steps to follow before you can shop with your Alexa device. First, you need to sign up as a Amazon Prime member. It'll cost you $119 per year, but it's essential for shopping with Alexa.

Next, go to your Alexa app and choose Menu > Settings > Alexa Account > Voice Purchasing. Toggle on Purchase By Voice. Finally, go to 1-Click Preferences on the site and set up a payment method.

To purchase something, say, "Alexa, add (item) to my shopping cart." Alexa will find the item and add it to your cart. When you're done adding items, say, "Alexa, order items in my shopping cart," and confirm.

2. Be specific, or be vague

If you know exactly what you want, tell Alexa. Mention brand, quantity and color. For example, "Alexa, add two black Sharpie markers to my shopping cart. 

If you don't know what brand you want, don't worry. You can ask for something nonspecific and Alexa will pick an Amazon Prime item for you. For example if I say, "Alexa, put black permanent markers in my cart," she will choose a Prime item for that category and put it in my cart. 

If you've ordered an item before, Amazon will remember your brand preference and add that brand of item to the cart. This is true no matter if you've ordered the item on the Amazon site or with Alexa.

3. Ask what's in your cart

It's easy to forget what is in your cart, so before confirming a purchase ask, "Alexa, what it in my shopping cart" and you'll hear the list of products. This will prevent you from ordering too many items if you accidentally added something twice, like this fellow did.

4. Prevent unwanted orders with a voice code

There have been several cases of kids ordering items from Amazon without permission. Oddly, even a parrot can order treats without a problem. To avoid unwanted purchases, it's best to set up a four digit voice code for authorizing purchases. 

To set up a code, go to the app and tap Menu > Settings > Alexa Account > Voice Purchasing. Then toggle on Voice Code, type in a four-digit code you'd like to use and tap Go. Make sure to remember the code because you'll need it next time you confirm an order.

5. Use Prime Now

You can order Prime Now items through Alexa, but you need to be sure you specify you want the Now service. 

Say something like, "Order (item) from Prime Now." If the item is available for two-hour delivery, it will be added to your cart and you'll need to order and confirm the item to have it shipped promptly.  

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6. Get discounts

Saving money with Alexa is easy. Just say, "Alexa, find me deals on Amazon." 

Alexa will list an item that is on sale and ask you if you want buy it. You can say "yes" to add it to your cart or "no" to go on to the next deal.

7. Purchase gifts

Alexa can help you come up with gift ideas and add them to a list so you can purchase them later, which can be a lifesaver during the holiday season. Brian Bennett has a great guide on how to shop for gifts with Alexa

Can't come up with a gift idea, even with its help? You can also order gift cards with Alexa.

8. Find your packages

You can use Alexa to track your packages once they're ordered, too. Just ask, "Alexa, where is my package?" Alexa will tell you when the items were purchased and when they are scheduled to arrive at your home.

You can also have her automatically give you shipping updates by going to the app and tapping Settings > Notifications > Shipping notifications. Then, toggle on the notifications you would like. When there's new information, Alexa will let you know.

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