The surprise success of the Amazon Echo has led to hundreds of integrations with third-party products, most recently adding Lutron’s LED lights and Boston Children’s Hospital KidsMD, but until today it Alexa could not give updates on Amazon packages.
Amazon let us know that Alexa, the voice assistant inside the Echo, Dot, Tap, and Fire TV, would now be able to track packages. Users can ask “Alexa, where’s my stuff” or “Alexa, track my package,” and it will give updates on the process and how long you have to wait.
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For the truly distractable and impatient, beware that there could be a lag of a few seconds between ordering and Alexa being able to tell you the status of your order, the firm says.
It’s likely that people owning and using Amazon’s smart home products are Amazon Prime customers or at least Amazon devotees – so they’re probably waiting on something from Amazon if they’re waiting for a package at all.
There are still some limits
Amazon packages coming from third-party sellers – firms that usually do their own fulfillment – and who don’t provide delivery estimates through Amazon.com won’t be trackable by Alexa either. You’re stuck with the same thing you see on the website now: a delivery date window.
If you want to have updates from other retailers or e-commerce stores on Amazon, they’ll need to add a “skill,” or what Amazon calls its third-party integrations on the Alexa platform.
And even though Amazon’s own fulfillment uses existing carriers like UPS or the US Postal Service, there are no plans at this time to allow you to track any non-Amazon packages with these firms.
That may be more dark news for these carriers, as Amazon hasn’t been shy about its logistics future, having announced plans to lease 20 aircraft to run its own air freight service and its interest in self-driving vehicles for door-to-door delivery.