Skip to navigationSkip to content

The Amazon Echo finally does the thing most people would’ve expected it to do from the beginning

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File
Alexa just got more helpful.
  • Mike Murphy
By Mike Murphy

Technology editor

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Amazon’s Echo, a wireless speaker and the physical housing for the company’s virtual assistant Alexa, has never really been able to tap into the largest resource that Amazon has at its disposal: stuff to buy. Up until today, Echo owners have only been able to ask Alexa to reorder select items they’ve already purchased online, or more Echoes. But now, Amazon is allowing Alexa to help order just about any item from Amazon’s catalogue that can be shipped as part of the company’s Prime membership service. Given that Amazon is primarily an online retailer, and secondarily a web-hosting company—and in a (distant) third, a consumer electronics company—it’s surprising that it’s taken this long for Alexa to learn this skill.

Now, instead of plastering every surface of your home with specific buttons for items that you use a lot and run out of, you can now shout across the house at Alexa, and demand it reorder your Vitamin Water, Tide detergent, or your joint medicine. You’ll also be able to order things you’ve not previously purchased online, meaning if you want Alexa to order you 1,500 live ladybugs on a whim, you’ll now be able to—assuming they’re Prime-eligible.

What a time to be alive.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.