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Amazon Uses Alexa to Tease More Prime Day Deals

July 8, 2016, 7:00 AM UTC
Amazon Echo
Amazon Echo has two buttons, one to activate Alexa, the other to disable the microphone.
Jason Cipriani

Amazon will offer exclusive shopping deals for users of its voice assistant Alexa during its annual e-commerce blitz, Prime Day, on July 12.

Amazon debuted Prime Day last year as a one-day sale exclusively for members of its Prime subscription shopping service. The company’s goal is to create a new shopping holiday like Black Friday—the busy shopping day after Thanksgiving—to encourage more spending on its site.

It’s not surprising that Alexa is playing a role in this year’s Prime Day, as the assistant and its companion home automation devices, Echo and Dot, have been hardware hits for the company. Alexa has become popular for its ability to answer questions, turn on lights, and re-order items like diapers directly through the e-commerce giant’s voice-controlled Echo and Echo Dot home devices as well as its connected speaker, Tap. Users simply give a command instructing Alexa what to do, like “Alexa, re-order Huggies Diapers” and Alexa will place the order for the products to arrive at shoppers’ doorsteps.

On Prime Day and leading up to Prime Day, Amazon will offer exclusive deals when Prime shoppers order products using their Amazon Echo, Echo Dot or Tap. Shoppers will, of course, have to ask, “Alexa, what are your Prime Day deals?” to find out what the discounts are.

The company recently started letting Alexa users order from among the tens of millions of items sold on Amazon. The one caveat is that the item must be a Prime product, meaning it is fulfilled by Amazon and can be delivered within two days. Amazon said Thursday that the most popular items being ordered through Alexa are coffee, batteries, pet food, and paper towels.

“The day has come where you no longer have to visit a screen to shop. I can be standing in my kitchen, when I realize I am almost out of coffee and simply say, ‘Alexa, order Starbucks coffee,’ and it shows up at my door within two days,” said Assaf Ronen, Amazon’s vice president of voice shopping. “Our Alexa speech science engineers have made something so incredibly challenging appear effortless to customers.”

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Amazon also said the Alexa Prime Day discounts will apply to devices, smart home products, and toys, but didn’t disclose the exact Prime Day discounts. Ahead of Prime Day, Prime members will also receive $10 off their first purchase using Alexa.

Offering deals exclusive to Alexa users is yet another way for Amazon’s shoppers to buy more items from the e-commerce juggernaut. The idea is to make commerce so easy for customers that they barely think about it—and, of course, help increase Amazon’s business.