Amazon's Prime Early Access Sale encompasses some of the online retail giant’s best deals of the year and will easily rival major holiday sales in terms of product variety and discounts. Given Alexa’s popularity, it’s no surprise that Amazon delivers a better shopping experience to people who have invested in the powerful voice control system. As such, there are some clear tips for getting the biggest discounts on your favorite products during the Prime Early Access Sale.
Unbeknownst to many Amazon Prime subscribers, there are semi-secret discounts offered all year long if you order them via Alexa. To do so, just ask, “Alexa, what are my deals?” and it will read off the latest discounts you can only get when ordering with voice control. All you do then is tell Alexa to add the products to your cart, and you’ll get a price you’d never see had you used a mouse and keyboard to order.
You can do this with pretty much any device that has Alexa built in or that lets you install the app. Amazon itself makes some excellent smart speakers under the Amazon Echo brand, but as you might imagine, this is considerably easier if you’re using an Alexa-compatible device with a screen. For example, Echo Show smart displays make it easy to shop for these hidden deals. You can also use a Fire HD tablet or an Amazon Fire TV or streaming stick.
Don’t worry about being forced to buy products without carefully looking them over, either. Once you add the product to your cart using Alexa, you can then review the items in a traditional web browser, and you’ll still get the Alexa-exclusive discount.
While you can predict some products that Amazon will discount based on trends, many of the best deals come with little warning. Normally, you’d have to keep checking the website to see when something you’re interested in sees a price drop.
Alexa’s latest ability alerts Prime subscribers to the best deals 24 hours before they drop. To do this, Alexa scans your shopping cart, wishlist, and anything you’ve saved for later. If any of those products are slated to go on sale soon, you’ll get an entire day’s notice so you can be sure to buy before the deal runs out. This greatly minimizes the legwork of poring over pages of listings so you don’t miss anything.
There are two important caveats: Alexa only delivers the alerts to Prime subscribers, and you need to have a latest-generation Amazon Echo speaker or Echo Show smart display.
You have to navigate a few menus to activate Alexa’s advance notifications on your Echo. Open the Alexa app, select “More,” go into the settings menu and select “Notifications.” Then you’ll see “Amazon Shopping,” and inside that menu, enable “Deal Recommendations.”
After the feature is turned on, the ring on the Echo will glow yellow. When Alexa detects an upcoming deal you’re interested in, it will send a notification to any smart devices where you’re logged into the app. At that point, you can tell Alexa to order the product once the deal goes live or send you another alert when it does.
A. Yes. This year's Prime sale event is October 11 and 12, but you can get alerts for deals on your wishlist up to 24 hours before they hit the website. Not every notification comes 24 hours early, though, so pay attention to when Alexa says the deal will be live, or just tell it to order one at that time.
A. According to Amazon, it’s only two days long. However, weeks in advance of the official onslaught of heavily discounted products, it starts offering notable discounts on worthwhile products. This is why now’s the best time to get up to speed on getting the best deals — Amazon is apparently already preparing for the event.
A. Amazon never stops adding new and useful abilities to the app and voice assistant. In the last couple of months, Alexa has seen some small but helpful improvements that can streamline frustrating parts of life.
For example, it now takes just a single voice command to open the Fire TV program guide. Amazon Auto users can now find the last place their car was parked. Alexa finally offers smart home enthusiasts the ability to set routines for a smart thermostat, humidifier, or similar appliance based on air quality data. You can even use Alexa’s new symptom checker to give you an idea of what might be causing anything that’s ailing you.
A. The increasingly popular website Camelcamelcamel tracks Amazon prices to make sure you’re not getting taken for a ride. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on it for all your purchases, not just those made around Prime Day. To make it especially easy, install the site’s Google Chrome plugin.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.