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Here's how Amazon's Alexa can make holiday shopping so much easier

Shopping for the holidays can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be.

Amazon's Alexa can make holiday shopping easier—here's how Credit: Amazon / Getty / AndreaObzerova

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The holiday shopping season is already in full swing, but if you’re tired of scrolling through your phone or braving the crowds at shopping malls, there’s another way you can still buy the best gifts for everyone on your list.

Alexa, as you may already know, is Amazon’s voice-activated smart assistant. And she can take the headache out of holiday shopping by helping you find exclusive deals on presents for your friends and family (and maybe even yourself). Before you know it, she may just be your new favorite shopping buddy.

Make sure you’ve got the right shopping setup

Echo Dot
Credit: Getty / canbedone

To shop with an Alexa, you will need an Echo speaker or the Amazon Alexa app.

You’ve got a couple of options when it comes to shopping with Alexa. First, you need a smartphone or an Echo speaker that has access to Alexa.

One of the easiest ways to shop with Alexa is by using an Echo speaker, like our favorite, the Echo (third-generation). Looking for something smaller? The Echo Dot (third-generation) is a smaller option while still being a great choice to help you knock out your holiday shopping.

Or, you can talk to Alexa using the Amazon Alexa app, available for download on iOS and Android devices. Once you’ve got the app set up and you’re logged in, click the blue button at the bottom center of your screen to speak to Alexa.

What to know before you shop

Echo Dot with Clock
Credit: Getty / TriggerPhoto

Alexa can help you manage your Amazon haul by letting you know when a package ships and when it will be delivered.

There are a couple of things to know before you start shopping. First, you need an Amazon account. If you don’t currently have one, you can try Amazon Prime for free, which gets you access to two-day (and sometimes faster) Prime shipping on thousands of products. Secondly, a valid payment method must be in place before you can make a purchase using Alexa. In your account settings, there is an option to add a credit or debit card, personal checking account, Store Card, or EBT card.

Next, make sure you have Voice Purchasing turned on in the Settings of the Amazon Alexa app. Set Purchase By Voice to on. If you’re worried about someone ordering something without your approval, you can set up a four-digit voice code that is required to confirm Amazon purchases and payments.

However, Alexa can only place orders on Prime-eligible products. That means if a product is shipped and sold by a third party vendor, Alexa won't be able to order it for you. Not a huge make or break, since most things on Amazon qualify for Prime shipping.

How to shop with Alexa

Woman talking to Echo and kid opening present
Credit: Getty / RyanKing999 / svetikd

Ordering gifts for friends and family is as simple as talking to Alexa.

Alexa voice shopping is an amazing service from Amazon that lets you find and buy products on the online retailer's website without doing any real work.

If you know exactly what you're looking for, you can go ahead and order it straight from your Echo speaker by saying, "Alexa, order [item]." She will search through your Amazon order history to find the right product and add it to your cart.

Buying something for the first time? Alexa will likely recommend products aloud that are marked "Amazon's Choice" when helping you make a purchase. Once you've found what you're looking for, say, "Alexa, checkout [item]." She will place the order for you and confirm the delivery date. Change your mind about an order? That's OK. Just tell Alexa to "cancel my order" and you'll be all set.

Not sure what you want to shop for? The Amazon Deals roundup is a great place to start. During the holidays, Amazon offers so many incredible discounts on the products that are likely on your December shopping list.

To access Amazon’s most recent deals say, “Hey Alexa, what are my deals?” She’ll tell you everything you need to know about the product like the name, current Amazon price, and total savings. Alexa will ask you if you want to buy the item, to which you can respond “yes” or “no.”

If you respond “yes,” Alexa will add the item to your Amazon shopping cart, where it will stay until you’re ready to check out. You can hear more deals by again asking Alexa, “What are my deals?”

When you’re done shopping say, “Alexa, check out my cart.” She will restate the products in your cart, including the total number of items and the total cost including tax and shipping. Then, she will ask you, “Do you want to buy now?” When you respond with “yes,” Alexa will purchase the items using your default payment method.

Shopping with Alexa for the holidays isn’t exactly the same as perusing the mall for gifts with your friends and family, but it certainly takes the headache out of fighting through crowded parking lots and jam-packed retail stores when you’re out there playing Santa Claus.

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