Shopping list

Alexa Shopping List Savings is a new coupon feature for Amazon’s voice assistant

While you can buy a lot of stuff on Amazon, most people don’t do their weekly grocery shopping with the retail giant (unless Whole Foods is your local store). So Amazon misses a lot of your shopping habits, and now it’s offering you an incentive to pass on that data: grocery coupons.

Alexa Shopping List Savings, which launched this month, is a new digital assistant feature that lets you clip coupons in the Alexa app for items you’ve added to your shopping list. The savings are added up and the cashback is put on your Amazon digital gift card within days. The US-only service is now available to all customers and works exclusively with the Alexa app’s pre-installed shopping list.

How coupons appear in the Alexa shopping list.
Screenshot Jennifer Pattison Tuohy/The Verge

Items can be added to the list either by asking a smart speaker to do so (“Alexa, add eggs, milk and bread to my shopping list”) or by manually adding them using of the smartphone application. The coupons will then appear in the list next to the related item, where you can choose to apply them.

Once you’ve gone to the store, upload your receipt and scan the barcodes of eligible items in the Alexa app to get your discount. It’s more complicated than using coupons in the store and is more like a traditional discount process. But, with the the price of groceries increasesevery penny counts for many people these days.

While it wasn’t entirely clear until recently that what you say to your smart speaker can be used by Amazon to serve you ads, with this service Amazon is more direct. This States high on the Amazon shopping list page that data from any information you upload and offers you activate “may be shared with Amazon’s service providers.” This data will be used in accordance with Amazon’s policy privacy policy. If you’re using a grocery store loyalty card, you’ve probably entered into a similar data exchange, with many stores collect and track customer data.

Offers are brand specific, not store specific. For example, I saw offers for Dave’s Killer Bread next to the bread entry and Snapple Elements next to the iced tea entry in my Alexa shopping list. Amazon spokesperson Trang Nguyen said The edge that there are more than 100 participating brands, including Pepsi, Snapple, Johnson’s, Sonoma Gourmet and Applied Nutrition. Most of the offerings are in the grocery and pharmacy category, and there is no specific link to Amazon-owned Whole Foods, Nguyen said. “Customers can use these offers at their favorite stores nationwide, including Whole Foods,” he said.

Although you can add items to an Alexa shopping list by speaking to an Echo smart speaker, you don’t need to have one to use the saving feature. Coupons are available simply by using the Alexa app and creating an account.