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Shopping with Alexa

Posted September 02, 2017 12:00 AM by M-ReeD
Pathfinder Tags: Alexa amazon consumer

When I think of voice-command shopping, I imagine myself seated next to my Amazon Echo at 3 AM unsuccessfully trying to prevent myself from saying the words "pizza" or "shoes." This vision keeps me from immediately linking Alexa to my Amazon account to enable the voice-controlled shopping feature.

Now, there is another reason to not activate this allegedly time-saving feature, according to recent research.

As Walmart sets to join Amazon in the voice-enabled shopping industry, researchers have determined that voice-command shopping with Alexa (for Amazon) and Google Assistant (for Walmart) may not be as easy on your wallet as other shopping methods, such as online shopping.

Because much of the selection of items offered to the consumer from sites like Amazon are based on the buyer’s purchasing history and whatever most closely fits the specs of the product, the consumer is presented with a very short menu of items to choose from.

Researchers liken this to how consumers would shop before online shopping—limited by whatever the sales associate showed the consumer in the physical store.

There is no comparison shopping or research involved in seeking out the best deals while shopping with the voice-command feature. Instead, the consumer is limited to whatever the retailer offers, all the while never truly knowing if he or she is getting the best possible deal.

So while the feature is probably a convenient and time-saving one, it certainly doesn’t compel me to activate it so that I can make bad late-night decisions that will cost me more than I would spend on the bad decisions I make in the light of day.

Is it worth the added cost and limited catalog to order products via voice command?

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#1

Re: Shopping with Alexa

09/02/2017 1:25 AM

I don't think you can get pizza at 3:00 am on Amazon, or really any time....I would probably talk in my sleep, who knows what I could end up with...!!

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#10
In reply to #1

Re: Shopping with Alexa

09/07/2017 3:32 PM

We've already been warned about this future, by the self-described "Cool Hand Leuk(1)" himself, the late Steve Goodman.

(Link is to a rendition of his song "vegematic." I don't hot-link sources with audio, in case they load in an auto-play mode.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnqtGjHJjs8

Notes:

  1. He gave himself that nickname when he was in the hospital due to his Leukemia. The man had one of those rare twisted-yet-hilarious senses of humor.
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#2

Re: Shopping with Alexa

09/02/2017 10:53 AM

It's just the latest scheme to make it easier for you to spend your money. It started with credit cards, then one-click online ordering with all of your information on file. If opening up the website and clicking on what you want is too much trouble, now just ask Alexa!

If I don't want something enough to order it myself, I probably don't need it.

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#6
In reply to #2

Re: Shopping with Alexa

09/05/2017 4:15 PM

We just got up-graded vending machines at work - they'll take your credit card or ATM card. No excuses now, if you want a doughnut at 9AM, you don't need any cash. Can't begin to add up how many calories having nothing smaller than a $20 bill saved me. Not anymore! Spend your money and add those pounds.

On the other hand, there are those, like myself, who, despite being a drag racer for 10 years and able to do most car repairs, have a difficult time talking to a person at the service department of the car dealership to schedule work to be done. Some kind of weird phobia some of us are "wired" with. I put off many things needed to be scheduled because I have this phobia about bothering people at their workplace. Let Alexa do that for me. (no - I don't have Alexa yet, but....)

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#7
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Re: Shopping with Alexa

09/06/2017 12:10 AM

I guess the smart cars will have them contacting you....

http://www.capterra.com/auto-repair-software/

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#8
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Re: Shopping with Alexa

09/06/2017 11:52 AM

Also it all goes into a master data base on your spending habits...to be sold to the highest bidder or confiscated on the grounds of National Security. ... well maybe not confiscated... the NSA already has it.

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#3

Re: Shopping with Alexa

09/03/2017 2:19 AM
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#4

Re: Shopping with Alexa

09/03/2017 5:57 AM

I don't know. The other day I had the TV a bit loud and was in Google voice search and the phone looked up what was being advertised on the TV.

I really don't need some flowered boxer shorts size XXL or a set of knives.

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#5
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Re: Shopping with Alexa

09/03/2017 9:40 AM

That's a good point, all we need is the TV hawkers to start with "Alexa, order...".

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#9
In reply to #5

Re: Shopping with Alexa

09/06/2017 10:48 PM

Don't encourage them...

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#11

Re: Shopping with Alexa

09/07/2017 6:37 PM

among many reports of issues with voice command helper is this: http://thehackernews.com/2017/09/ai-digital-voice-assistants.html .

Anyone can spoof your phone and order stuff, that you pay for, if your voice command is turned on, by using ultrasonic sound just above the normal hearing range.

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#12

Re: Shopping with Alexa

09/15/2017 4:47 PM

Us older folks aren't falling for these many different ways to extract money. Maybe the millennials will be the suckers-in-waiting. If I were to buy everything on "As seen on TV", I would be out all my money and have a house full of absolute JUNK. I know someone (close) who buys everything from "as seen on TV", but she can afford to throw her money away. It is a very different world we live in. The world we live in is composed of those with money (any amount) and those who work to get your money, no matter how it can be done; it amounts almost to stealing; certainly not illegal, but questionable on ethic and moral grounds. As a people, we are being programmed by those who want our money, to buy by making it easy and convenient. It started with credit cards and now we have drones, echo and alexa to help us spend. I will never let those into my home. My wife and I both worked a 40 hour week; we came home and COOKED our own meals. We cleaned our own house. Now retired, we still do the same things we did back then. While some people will spend $20 to see an awful movie,plus $5 for popcorn and another $3? for a drink, we live a happy and content life surrounded by caring friends and relatives. What more is there to want? I could go on and on, but you get the general idea.

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