You knew it was going to happen at some point. Amazon just integrated Alexa with its Prime Now program, allowing members of the cut-rate shipping program to order items with their voice and get them a few hours later.
Anyone who subscribes to Amazon Prime, lives in one of the 30 Prime Now cities, and also has an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, Fire Tablet, or Fire TV can say, “Alexa, order some potato chips on Prime Now.” Alexa will then choose the next available two-hour delivery window on Prime Now to bring your stuff.
The new ordering service allows you to place orders for multiple items at once, and Alexa can also make recommendations based on what’s available in Amazon’s catalog. Using the potato chip example, if you just said potato chips, Alexa would list available items for you to choose from.
The new feature also works with Prime Now’s alcohol delivery service that includes Seattle, Washington (beer, wine, and spirits), and Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio (beer and wine only). Alcohol deliveries require you to show I.D. when you accept the delivery to prove you’re of age.
The story behind the story: A key feature for any Amazon-branded device has always been its easy interface with the company’s retail catalog. Alexa’s Prime Now integration is just one more example of that. It also comes shortly after Alexa was added to Amazon’s shopping app for iOS, which was preceded by the addition of integration with Amazon Restaurants in January. The integration gives Alexa a continuing advantage over Google Home, which cannot compete with Alexa’s retail advantage though has advantages of its own—notably integration with Google’s ecosystem.