March 21, 2017 Last Updated 11:46 am

Amazon offers Alexa voice shopping through Prime Now, including alcohol in Seattle, Columbus and Cincinnati

Ordering can be done with Alexa through Prime Now using the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, Fire Tablet or Fire TV devices

The online retailer Amazon today launched Alexa voice shopping through Prime Now, a logical extension of the 2-hour delivery service. The feature will even work for alcohol purchases, assuming you live in either Seattle, Columbus or Cincinnati.

I find the Amazon delivery service an interesting example of how the divide between city and suburbs is growing.

I am an Amazon Prime member, and enjoy the free, fast two-day delivery feature. But while I live in the Chicagoland area, I am not in a zip code that is part of Prime Now. In fact, while the list of cities where Prime Now exists is growing, that doesn’t mean the regional areas around those cities will be served.

Here is the current list of Prime Now cities:

  • Atlanta
  • Austin
  • Baltimore
  • Chicago
  • Cincinnati
  • Columbus
  • Dallas and Fort Worth
  • Houston
  • Indianapolis
  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles and Orange County
  • Manhattan and Brooklyn
  • Miami
  • Minneapolis and St. Paul
  • Nashville
  • Orlando
  • Phoenix
  • Portland
  • Raleigh
  • Richmond
  • Sacramento
  • San Antonio
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco Bay Area
  • Seattle and Eastside
  • Tampa
  • Virginia Beach
  • Washington, DC Metro

A few of the cities above are regions, such as LA and Orange County, but most are not.

Where I live, a number of my neighbors work for Amazon, at a fulfillment facility not too far up the road. Yet, those same employees cannot use the Prime Now service because they do not live in Chicago proper. In fact, the center where they work is actually close to Milwaukee, which you will see is not listed, either.

(Update: What timing! On March 22, Amazon announced one hour delivery to Milwaukee.)

I certainly don’t assign blame to Amazon here, by the way. They can’t provide a two-hour delivery service everywhere – at least not yet. But it does point out how life is changing in the US. When I was growing up the flight to the suburbs was continuing. We lived in a house in the burbs, near one of the first malls every built. During my teenage years the downtown Hudson’s department store was closed down, and services inside the city became rare. Today, many downtown areas are booming and some suburban malls are being shuttered and torn down.

One could almost put a zip code map of where Hillary Clinton won the popular vote and overlay it over the map of where Amazon provides two-delivery.

Here is the press release on the expansion of Prime Now:


SEATTLE, Wash. – March 21, 2017 – Today, Amazon launched its fastest and easiest way to shop: Alexa voice shopping through Prime Now. Tens of thousands of daily essentials are available for free two-hour delivery by simply asking Alexa to order from Prime Now. Alexa can order multiple items at once, make recommendations and will automatically choose the next available 2-hour delivery window. Whether customers are in the middle of a game night with friends and family, have their hands full with a baby or are too sick to get out of bed, Alexa makes it easy to get what they need right away through Prime Now without taking out a phone or logging into a computer. Just say, “Alexa, order tortilla chips from Prime Now” and pair with salsa and a videogame or ask “Alexa, order Nyquil from Prime Now” and add tissues and chicken noodle soup. The customer skips a trip to the store and the items arrive within the next available two-hour delivery window. Additionally, starting today, customers in select cities can use Alexa to voice order cold beer, wine and spirits from Prime Now with free two-hour delivery. To learn more, visit www.amazon.com/needitnow.

“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,” said Assaf Ronen, Vice President of Voice Shopping. “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.”

Alexa, order from Prime Now
Tens of thousands of daily essentials are now available to order with Alexa through Prime Now via the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, Fire Tablet, and Fire TV. It’s as simple as saying, “Alexa, order [product] from Prime Now” — Alexa will recommend a product within the Prime Now catalogue and once confirmed add it to the customer’s order. Customers can add as many items as they want and Alexa can offer suggestions based on the other items in their current order. Once the minimum order amount is reached, Alexa will automatically choose the next available 2-hour delivery slot. Alexa voice shopping through Prime Now is available in more than 30 Prime Now eligible cities. To shop with Alexa through Prime Now, customers must be Prime members with a default payment and shipping address.

Alexa, order alcohol
Customers in select cities can use Alexa to get wine, beer and spirits delivered right to their door with free two-hour delivery through Prime Now. Customers can re-stock their party while watching the game, playing cards or dancing to their favorite song. Customers must be 21 or older to Alexa voice shop for alcohol through Prime Now, and show their I.D. upon delivery. Currently all alcohol delivery is available in Seattle, Washington and beer and wine are available in Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio. For additional information on availability, please visit www.amazon.com/needitnow.

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