Amazon virtual assistant lets users order millions of items

02 Jul 2016


Amazon products like Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, or Amazon Fire TV, now allow users to  tell Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa to buy tens of millions of Amazon products.

Up until yesterday, Alexa was only able to reorder items ordered earlier or Amazon's Choice products - and the little Echo Dot. At this time, Alexa's product ordering in only open to Amazon Prime customers.

However, apparel, shoes, jewelry, watches, Amazon Fresh, Prime Pantry, Prime Now, or Add-On items cannot be ordered through the personal assistant.

''There are some limitations around things that require sizing like clothes and shoes. But it's still day one and we'll be adding more items all the time,'' an Amazon representative told VentureBeat.

The past several weeks had seen many developments in the world of voice-activated virtual assistants. Google announced its Echo competitor Google Home, which would be released this year, and Apple released SiriKit for iOS.

Meanwhile VentureBeat reported that a future Apple TV would be updated to compete with the Echo. It remained unclear whether Apple TV or Google Home would allow people to order things off of Amazon.

According to commentators, though its rollout had been slow since it hit the market two years ago, Alexa seemed to have become important for the future of the major online retailer.

Items ineligible for purchase through Alexa include apparel, shoes, jewelry, watches, Amazon Fresh, Amazon Prime Pantry, Amazon Prime Now and add-on items.

According to commentators, the ability to order items off Amazon seemed to be one of the most obvious features for Alexa since Amazon was a retail website. The company however,  held off on this tool until the Echo was about a year and a half old.

"We launch things when they are ready," an Amazon spokeswoman said when asked about the timing. "Our speech science engineers have made something very complicated and difficult to do so exceedingly easy for customers."

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