In the past couple of years, Amazon has proven itself to be both startlingly clever and doggedly persistent when it comes to figuring out ways to use tech to get you to shop more. With its latest initiatives from just this week, it’s getting the whole family involved in spending yours savings away.
Since late 2014, the company has been selling its Echo smart speakers that are powered by its Alexa assistant, which answers questions, plays music and places orders on Amazon when you issue voice commands from anywhere in the same room as the device.
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Now, Alexa can tell different users’ voices apart, so family members can retrieve their own messages and calls, play their own personalized Music Unlimited recommendations and shop without having to provide a confirmation code each time. Google Home already supports multiple voices, but building this into Alexa enables more people in your household to shop.
Next, Amazon has expanded its Household subscription to allow children aged 13-17 to shop on the site through the app using their parents’ payment methods. Parents can choose to either set a spending limit or individually approve each purchase. It’s likely that this functionality will eventually be extended to Alexa, so teens can shop just by barking orders to a nearby Echo.
With that, Amazon has greatly reduced the friction involved in shopping on its platform – and it’s doing so in ways that can easily become regular habits for customers, including young ones. It’s also looking into ways to deliver products right to your fridge and the trunk of your car à la Walmart, as well as smart glasses powered by Alexa.
Beyond that, the ecommerce giant has already acquired grocery chain Whole Foods and slashed prices there, and is believed to be eyeing the pharmaceuticals market in the next two years with possible acquisitions of Walgreens and CVS. Clearly, the company is hoping to become the no-brainer choice when you think about buying anything at all in the near future. And if its balance sheets are anything to go by, its plan seems to be working.