Amazon brings Whole Foods voice shopping to Alexa | Tech Industry

Amazon today announced that Echo smart speakers can now record and complete Prime Now orders. Prime Now, available in dozens of U.S. markets, ensures two-hour same-day delivery.

Amazon began to provide Prime Now deliveries for Whole groceries in Atlanta and San Francisco earlier this year. With the launch of orders today, Prime Now Whole Foods deliveries will be available in all markets served by Prime Now.

Prime Now orders are placed in a standalone smartphone app. Say “Add steak to my Whole Foods Cart” and Alexa will note the order. After each exchange, Alexa will confirm what you added to the list, then ask “What else?” until you’re finished.

Say something generic like “cheese” or “meat” or “milk” and Alexa will choose one for you.

Once you’ve finished adding items to a cart, you will then receive an invitation to review your order and checkout through the Amazon or Prime Now app. To complete an order, you say “Alexa, checkout.” Those without the Prime Now app will be prompted to download the app at checkout.

Alexa-enabled devices speakers can also add items to a general shopping list visible in the Alexa smartphone app or order directly from Amazon’s online marketplace by saying things like “Alexa, order more paper towels.” Say this command today and Alexa will let you choose whether to place the order with Amazon or Whole Foods. Items placed in your generic shopping cart are also displayed at the bottom of your Prime Now shopping cart.

To use the service, orders must be placed by an Amazon Prime member and meet minimum purchase amounts based on location.

Since the $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods closed in August 2017, Echo speakers have gone on sale in Whole Foods stores, Amazon lockers have been added to Whole Foods locations, and 10 percent discounts have been placed on certain items for Prime members.

Following earnings announced last month, CFO Brian Olsavsky said Prime benefits at Whole Foods are seeing one of the highest rates of adoption for a Prime perk in the company’s history. In April, CEO Jeff Bezos said the company has 100 million Prime members.

The new way to shop with Alexa come along as Amazon and Google fight over the introduction of more ways to interact with their AI assistants in visual user interfaces.

In late June, Amazon debuted a Fire tablet charging dock and Show Mode, a visual experience similar to the Echo Show. Echo Show smart speakers allow you to shop for items in the Amazon marketplace by scrolling left to right through options.

The Lenovo Smart Display came out late last month and other devices with a display and Google Assistant inside are expected out later this year from Sony and LG.

Analysts predict the voice shopping market to grow to roughly $40 billion by 2022.

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