Voice Shopping with Alexa: How Does it Work?

By now, you’ve probably heard about Amazon Alexa or simply Alexa — an artificial intelligence virtual assistant created by Amazon. This AI is built into the Amazon Echo which is speaker complete with a built-in microphone to pick up your voice commands. You only need to say the word “Alexa” and then your command.

You’ve probably seen TV ads about people doing this, commanding Alexa to control smart devices on your home or play music. To put it simply, Alexa is Amazon’s counterpart of Apple’s Siri.

However, voice commanding has taken a step further. Now, we’re in the era when voice shopping is a thing. How does this work? With the help of Alexa and other voice command virtual assistants.

Voice Shopping with Alexa

Since Amazon owns and developed Alexa, it’s no wonder voice shopping with Alexa is now possible. Alexa is hooked to Amazon Prime’s products list and with your voice, you can order anything you may need off of Amazon.

To make it work, you already have to input your details on Amazon. Details will include your name, address, and card details. The system will hold onto the details and will use these once you have confirmed the order.

Since Amazon’s Echo devices are now available in Australia, Aussies can use Alexa for shopping. They only need a valid Australian address for the delivery as well as an Australian-based bank or payment method. Alexa will also be hooked on the Australian Amazon site.

Voice Shopping with Alexa: How Does it Work?


But how will Alexa know which product or brand to buy?

Amazon uses cookies to remember the purchases you’ve made and which products and brands you looked at for the past 30 days. With these data, Alexa will be able to pinpoint the most likely brand you’ll want from the same supplier. In addition, Alexa will verify if you indeed want to make the purchase.

For example, you asked Alexa to buy a new TV. If you had previously search Samsung TVs or bought one, Amazon will remember it and Samsung will be on top of Alexa’s list. The AI will then ask you if that’s the brand you’d like to buy and you can confirm by saying “Yes” or “No.”

That said, you can re-order the same thing you’ve purchased before or Alexa can show you available options for a new item you’ll be buying.

If you are not yet ready to buy, you can command Alexa to put the list on your cart. It’s the same thing you do when you’re shopping on Amazon yourself.


Now that you have ordered what you need, you only need to wait for the delivery. You can also ask Alexa to go through your order list and find out whether the item has been shipped and when it will be delivered to your doorsteps.

Using PIN

There have been several cases of accidental purchases done when kids or even TV ads were picked up on Amazon Echo’s mic. To avoid that, you can put a PIN to confirm every purchase you make with Alexa.

You can do it on the smartphone app for Alexa in the Settings. Choose a four-digit PIN that’s easy to remember. After Alexa confirms your purchase, the final step will be asking for the PIN. While it’s not entirely foolproof (as other people will still hear you), it does help when it comes to accidental purchases.

You can also turn the PIN off if you like.

Google Assistant Voice Shopping

Amazon’s Alexa isn’t the only virtual assistant that can do shopping for its owner. You can also buy from Google Express with Google’s very own Assistant. It is also available in Australia these days and works a lot like Alexa.

Voice Shopping with Alexa: How Does it Work?

There’s a good range of items available at Google Express from daily necessities to appliance, tech and gadget, and even game consoles.

However, Google Assistant only allows voice shopping when an item costs around $4 to $100. This is to avoid any accidental shopping and regretting what you have bought.

It is also possible for Google Assistant to recognize the voice of who is saying. That said, each member of your family could order at the same device but they will be billed from their respective accounts after Assistant has recognized their voices.

Optimize your eCommerce Site

Customers aren’t the only ones who should be catching up with the times. Retailers and businesses should also be optimizing their eCommerce sites and factor new technologies such as voice shopping.

Here are several things you need to do and remember so you can improve your sales conversion.

Using Keywords

One of the things you need to note about voice searches is that the keywords are often in the form of a question. For example, you ask Alexa where’s the nearest seafood restaurant. It doesn’t come out as “nearest seafood restaurant Queensland.” Rather, you ask “where is the nearest seafood restaurant in Queensland?”

You might want to incorporate these questions on your SEO along with regular keywords and phrases. This allows the search engine to find you whether customers are using the good old computer or through virtual assistants.

Another thing to remember when working on these keywords is you have to word them as naturally as possible. Since typing requires a little more of our time, we end up only using the important keywords to shorten our queries.

However, using voice searches is different. Our searches are often in natural language unlike how we type.

Improving your Content

If a customer wants to know more about a product, Alexa or Assistant will read details off from the content you’ve prepared. Wordy content won’t do as these AI assistants often choose a segment of around 16 to 20 seconds.

Organize your content in a way that everything provides new information. It’s also nice to have it in a conversational language so your customers can easily understand it.


Technology today has gone to such great lengths that shopping can be done at your home. While that concept has long been established, this time you won’t even need to log in on your computer with thanks to virtual assistants like Alexa.

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