Alexa Voice Control Feature for Shopping To Be Discontinued

Alexa - Shopping List

Starting in July, you will no longer be able to add items to lists on third-party apps like Todoist and AnyList using Alexa voice control through their existing Skills. According to a post on Amazon’s developer site, access to Alexa Shopping and To-Do lists will be discontinued on July 1st.

Starting July 1, 2024, you will no longer be able to use List skills or the List Management REST API to access Alexa lists, i.e., the Alexa Shopping and To-Do lists, in your skills or apps. For other ways to build custom voice experiences, see Steps to Build a Custom Skill. Please contact us if you have any questions.”

This change means that unless developers create new custom skills, their Alexa integrations will cease to function. Users will need to rely on the Alexa app’s built-in list feature to add items via voice commands.

Currently, if you enable Alexa Skills for third-party apps, they can sync with lists in the Alexa app and display that data. I personally use this feature to add items to my shopping list in AnyList.

However, from July 1st, this capability will be lost, and you will either need to use the Alexa app’s lists or hope the developers of your preferred list app build a custom voice skill.

The Alexa Shopping List UI, which also shows the deals feature being discontinued.

Amazon informed The Verge that developers can still integrate Alexa voice control of lists into their apps; they just won’t have access to Alexa lists anymore.

Alexa – Shopping List

“We are making some changes to the way that developers build lists,” said Sarah Zonouzi of Amazon PR. “Developers can integrate our custom voice interaction model into their skill to enable voice control and management of lists.”

She explained that this approach offers similar features to the existing options, with the main difference being that customers will manage third-party lists with voice, not Alexa lists.

AnyList told The Verge it plans to develop a custom skill with a custom voice interaction, aiming to have it ready by July 1.

However, co-founder and CEO Jeff Hunter noted that users will have to say, “Alexa *tell AnyList* to add apples to my grocery list,” instead of simply, “Alexa, add apples to my grocery list.”

“We are disappointed with Amazon’s decision to kill the List Skill API, especially on such short notice,” said Hunter. “We expect this change to be disruptive for our customers.

Not only will they have to train themselves to say ‘tell AnyList to…’ when talking to Alexa, but if they forget, their command may still appear to work, even though the item won’t be synced with AnyList.”

Todoist told The Verge it is not planning to develop a new custom skill. “We’ve made the difficult decision to sunset our Alexa integration by July 1, 2024,” said Omar Samuels.

He mentioned that due to the short notice of the shutdown and the required resources, they currently have no plans for a replacement. However, he added, “We will be reviewing what possibilities exist to fill any resulting gaps in the future.”

Alexa – Shopping List

Interestingly, a popup in the shopping list section of the Alexa app indicates that the company is also discontinuing its Alexa Shopping List Deals feature on July 10th, 2024.

This feature connects users with deals on Amazon, Whole Foods, and other sources for items on their shopping list.

Given the monetization potential of a shopping list feature, it’s likely Amazon is reevaluating its approach. We may see a new shopping list experience coming to Alexa in the future.

In the meantime, many Alexa users are likely to be frustrated. Adding items to lists is one of the most popular uses for voice assistants, alongside playing music, setting timers, and checking the time.

Dedicated list apps like AnyList and Todoist are often easier to use while shopping than the Alexa app’s list. Although the Alexa app has improved, with features like pinning the shopping list to the Favorites section and a homescreen widget, it still isn’t as user-friendly as dedicated list apps.

Additionally, most third-party list apps offer various ways to add items, including desktop apps and support for other voice assistants, which is beneficial for multi-ecosystem households.

However, Google has also discontinued its Google Home voice command integrations with list apps, affecting AnyList and Any.Do users. These apps now only work with Apple’s Siri on an iPhone.

Todoist, which supports Siri, also works with Google Assistant, but only on Android phones. As a result, finding a list app that works with multiple voice assistants and across different device families is becoming increasingly difficult.

Olivia Murphy
Driven by a commitment to excellence and integrity, Olivia strives to empower her audience with knowledge that enables informed decision-making and fosters a deeper understanding of the business world. She believes in the power of storytelling to bridge gaps, spark dialogue, and drive meaningful progress within the global business community.