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article imageAmazon recruits Alexa to sell Prime subscriptions, promote deals

By James Walker     Jul 5, 2017 in Technology
Amazon has announced a range of benefits to using Alexa to shop during its upcoming Prime Day event. Alexa users will be able to get early access to deals, buy products with their voice and even start a new Prime subscription at a reduced price.
Amazon is holding its third Prime Day summer sales event on July 11th. As usual, the deals will only be available to Prime members and some discounts will actually go live on the day before.
Owners of Amazon's Echo range of smart home hardware with Alexa integration will be able to start shopping two hours before everyone else. Amazon will also offer over 100 deals that are exclusive to Alexa users. It’s all part of an attempt to get people more familiar with using voice input for tasks previously completed on a phone or computer.
The latest deals can be accessed by asking Alexa "what are your deals?" The assistant will read out the products that are on sale. The options will be rotating over time so you won't always hear the same thing. You can purchase a product by telling Alexa to "order" its name. Amazon said that Alexa Deals has already been used over three million times since launch and customers are coming to accept shopping with their voice.
"This is going to be the most exciting Prime Day yet for voice shoppers," said Assaf Ronen, Amazon Vice President for Voice Shopping. "We have deals on everything from smart home products to devices, chocolates and more starting from today and going all the way through July 17th. Prime members have asked 'Alexa, what are your deals?' more than three million times since we launched Alexa deals last year, and we're thrilled to deliver even better deals this year."
In practice, consumers aren't enthusiastic though. The prospect of voice shopping has flopped with most Amazon users, even those who otherwise enjoy Alexa's features. Bargain hunting site DealNews told Bloomberg that a survey it conducted found people are cautious of buying products without information.
When you tell Alexa to "order" something, Amazon automatically selects the best-priced product that ships with Prime. The lack of information worries customers who are used to browsing detailed descriptions and reviews online. Bloomberg reported that only 80,000 people used voice shopping during Prime Day last year.
People shopping using Alexa for the first time between now and Prime Day will receive a bonus $10 promo code. It's Amazon's attempt to get people to give voice shopping a try, hoping that the prospect of discounts will eventually bring people around to the idea.
For users who aren't yet signed up to Prime at all, Amazon's offering a $20 saving on an annual membership when you sign up through Alexa. You can tell the assistant to "sign me up for Prime" to get access to all the subscription's features, including the option to participate in Prime Day sales. The commands are available now on Amazon products where Alexa is supported.
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