Amazon is on a roll adding functionality after functionality to its smart assistant, Amazon Alexa. Just last week Amazon added Alexa to the main Amazon app, and now the company has announced that Amazon Alexa will be able to order from Prime Now, the two-hour delivery services introduced for Prime members. In addition (and here’s the real news), Alexa will also be able to order on the newly introduced alcohol delivery service in select cities.
Since Amazon Alexa is now on a range of Amazon hardware – including the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, Fire TV (Alexa Voice Remote) and Fire Tablet – she will allow multiple items to be ordered in one go on the Prime Now two-hour delivery deal.
The alcohol delivery service is currently available only in Seattle, Washington for a range of beers, spirits and wines, and in Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio, for beer and wine. Though Amazon doesn’t mention an upcoming expansion, we’re pretty sure it will catch on.
One of the biggest strengths of Amazon Alexa is the close relationship to Amazon’s retail business. After launching voice shopping for Prime members last year right before the holiday season started, Amazon has been continually adding items to Alexa’s portfolio.
That advantage alone gives it a significant edge in the market over Google Assistant on Google Home and, soon, on upcoming smartphone models and other devices. Assistant is far more advanced than Alexa from an AI perspective, but Alexa has a catalog of literally hundreds of millions of products to access.
Although Google has tried to address the issue with Google Express and giving Assistant access to that sales channel, it’s very different from what Alexa can do. Google is probably better at price comparison and so on, but Amazon Alexa’s link with retail is direct and well-integrated.
At the launch of Prime Now for Alexa, VP Voice Shopping, Assaf Ronen, said this:
“Bringing Prime Now to Alexa voice shopping combines two of the most innovative shopping technologies available for an experience that our customers are going to wonder how they ever lived without. We’re excited to offer the full Prime Now catalogue with Alexa, including tens of thousands of items, which allows you to refill everyday essentials you’ve just run out of like diapers or dish soap, or cater to unexpected guests with merlot and ice cream, all without ever leaving your house or even getting up from the couch.”
Once Amazon Alexa is integrated into more smart, connected devices, it’s only a matter of time before the effects of that show up on Amazon’s top line income from retail. That phenomenon has already begun, and Prime Now and alcohol delivery are merely two more nails in the coffins of wannabe competitors.
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