Voice sales, not so simple for Alexa…2 min read


A leaked Amazon report are shows that only 2% of users have used Alexa to make a purchase. In our home we’ve had Alexa for a couple of years and we disabled voice purchased almostimmediately after our son ( one of the primary users ) quickly figured out how to order a transformer. I luckily noticed the order confirmation from Amazon and requested a cancellation without any issue. Alexa treated his request to purchase a new toy equally with mine and my wife. Does this sound like the behaviour you’d want? Not likely…

Amazon changed this shortly after to use Voice profiles, each user needs to setup a voice profile and then only recognized voices can make purchases. Setting up the voice profiles is annoying, especially if you haven’t already setup a household with Amazon and the adults in your family.

If you don’t want to enable Voice profiles, then Alexa will also use a voice purchase PIN if you want but it won’t take long before your kids or will hear and remember a 4 digit PIN. I was unable to find an option to request an email approval or even an option to enter the PIN in the Alexa/Amazon apps instead.

After setting up the voice profiles we found that Alexa still cannot order in our default language. This error message is a confusing way of saying that your device’s current location doesn’t match the default location of your Amazon account. Repeated attempts to change my region ( which is in the US ) to Canada have failed. Even deregistering and re-registering my Amazon devices has had no impact. We spend time in Florida and use Amazon Prime their for ALOT of services so maintaining two accounts seems to break Alexa voice orders..

Overall voice purchases don’t seem to be a strong focus for Amazon/Alexa and I’m not surprised that only 2% of people of ordered something through it. I think Amazons is more focused on growing the user base and increasing other functionality, like SmartHome integration to increase the value of the Alexa products.