The holidays will be here before you know it, and — like it or not — Amazon is an easy way to get something everyone will love.
If you have Amazon Prime, it comes with a lot of great perks beyond fast, free shipping. Tap or click for some of my favorites to get the most out of that $15 per month.
Prime isn’t the only way to save money. Tap or click for five insider secrets to get the most bang for your buck this holiday season.
Once you decide on the perfect gifts, take a few steps to ensure you don’t spoil the surprise.
Stop Alexa from spilling the beans
If you have an Echo device, Alexa can automatically tell you delivery updates for items you order. Cool, except when Alexa loudly announces the delivery, ruining a surprise. Now, your gift recipient will know just what to expect.
To keep the element of surprise for your gift orders, follow these steps to disable the feature in the Alexa app:
- Open the Alexa app on your phone.
- Tap More > Settings.
- Choose Notifications.
- Select Amazon Shopping.
- Slide the toggle to the left next to For items in delivery updates under the section Let Alexa say or show titles for items you’ve ordered. This disables the feature.
Although nearly 70% of smart speaker owners use Alexa, not all know her entire skill set. We found a bunch of little-known tips and tricks that open up a world of possibilities. Tap or click here for Alexa commands you’ll wish you know about sooner.
Clever ways to hide purchases
If you’re sharing the same Amazon account with another family member, there are ways to hide purchases and searches to avoid potentially heartbreaking gift spoilers. Here are a few options:
Archive an order
When you archive orders, this action hides gift purchases from your order history and can also hide items you no longer want to reference or are simply too embarrassed to reveal.
To archive an order on a computer, hover your cursor over Account & Lists and click on Orders. Find the order you want to hide and click View order details, then Archive Order. Click Archive Order again to confirm. This will remove the item from immediate viewing within your order history.
Note: Archived orders can still be viewed by going to the Your Account page and selecting Archived orders. These items can also be restored by selecting Unarchive Order.
Remove items from your browsing history
You can remove items from your browsing history to avoid revealing your gift ideas. Hover your cursor over Account & Lists and click on Browsing History. A list of things you’ve looked at will appear. For each item that you want to hide, tap Remove from view.
Note: If you want all searches hidden, turn off your account’s Browsing History entirely by selecting Manage history and toggling off Turn browsing history on/off.
Remove items from your recommendations
Amazon’s Recommended List is another source of potential gift spoilers. This is an automated list of items the algorithm thinks you’ll like. (It’s based on prior purchases.)
To exclude certain purchases from influencing your recommendations, go to Amazon’s Improve Your Recommendations section, locate the item you want to exclude, then toggle off Use this item for recommendations.
Ship to an Amazon Locker
Deliveries can also cause spoilers. Nothing says “something’s up” more blatantly than a big Amazon box waiting at your front door — especially when special occasions like Christmas or your anniversary are coming up.
To avoid Amazon home or office delivery gift spoilers, you can always ship to a nearby Amazon Locker.
What are Amazon Lockers? They’re basically delivery sites located in U.S. cities. You can ship an item to an Amazon Locker of your choice and then pick it up at a time that’s convenient for you.
To ship to an Amazon Locker, find your closest Locker location while logged in to your Amazon account and add it to your shipping address book. Now, when you purchase an item, you can select your Locker as the shipping address.
Once an item has been delivered to the Locker, Amazon will email you the unique six-digit code you’ll need to retrieve it. Enter the code on the Locker’s touchscreen interface, wait for the Locker door to open, and pick up your package.
Note: Although most items can be shipped to Amazon Lockers, size and weight restrictions exist. You only have three calendar days to pick it up, or it will be returned to Amazon for a refund. There is no additional cost for using an Amazon Locker, but standard shipping rates (including free Prime shipping) still apply.
Ship to a different Address
You can also ship to a different address by hovering your cursor over Account & Lists > Your Account and clicking on Your addresses.
Just click Add Address and put in the details. For security reasons, you’ll be asked to confirm your credit card each time you place an order using a new or edited address. You can also delete or edit any saved address you have in this section.
Amazon Key is an easy way to have Amazon packages delivered inside your garage. It’s free for Prime members and works with Amazon, Amazon Fresh, and Whole Foods Market deliveries.
Hover your cursor over Account & Lists and select Account. Then click on Amazon Key settings to start. Follow the on-screen instructions.
Now that you know how to hide all your purchases and search history, adjust those settings and start shopping!
Keep your tech-know going
One of my popular podcasts is called “Kim Komando Today.” It’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and callers with tech questions like you from all over the country. Search for it wherever you get your podcasts.
Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando.”
What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television, or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.
We may receive a commission when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.