Amazon offers help for holiday shoppers to hide gift purchases

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The holidays will be here before you know it, and whether you like it or not, Amazon is an easy way to get something everyone will love.

If you have Amazon Prime, it offers many benefits beyond fast and free shipping.

Once you’ve chosen the perfect gifts, take a few steps to make sure you don’t spoil the surprise.

Prevent Alexa from spilling the beans

If you have an Echo device, Alexa can automatically notify you of shipping updates for items you order. Cool, except when Alexa loudly announces the delivery, spoiling a surprise. Now the recipient of your gift will know what to expect.

To retain 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, then Settings.

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Choose Notifications and select Amazon Shopping.

Uncheck the box labeled For items in delivery updates under the Let Alexa say or show the titles of items you’ve ordered section.

Clever ways to hide purchases

If you share the same Amazon account with another family member, there are ways to hide purchases and searches to avoid spoilers. Here are some 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 list or are just too embarrassed to reveal.

To archive an order, hover over Account & Lists, then Your Account, and click Your Orders. Find the order you want to hide and click Archive Order. This will remove the item from immediate view in your order history.

To 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.

Delete items from your browsing history

To avoid revealing your gift ideas to the whole household, you can delete items from your browsing history. Hover over Account & Lists, then Your Account, and click Browsing History. A list of items you have viewed will appear. For each item you want to hide, tap Remove from view.

To note: If you want all searches to be hidden, turn off your account’s browsing history entirely by selecting Manage History and turning off Enable/Disable Browsing History.

Remove items from your recommendations

Another source of potential giveaway spoilers is Amazon’s Recommended List. This is an automated list of items that the algorithm thinks you’ll like based on past purchases.

To prevent certain purchases from influencing your recommendations, go to the Improve your recommendations section of Amazon, locate the item you want to exclude, then turn off Use this item for recommendations.

Ship to an Amazon Locker

Deliveries can also spoil the surprise. Nothing says “something is happening” more blatantly than a large Amazon box waiting at your front door, especially when special occasions like Christmas or your birthday are approaching.

You can still ship to a nearby Amazon Locker. What are Amazon lockers? Delivery sites are located in more than 900 US 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 nearest Locker location while logged into your Amazon account and add it to your shipping address book. When you buy an item, you can select your Locker as the delivery 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 touch interface, wait for the locker door to open and collect your package.

To note: Although most items can be shipped to Amazon Lockers, size and weight restrictions still exist. You only have three calendar days to collect it, otherwise it will be sent back to Amazon for a refund. There are no additional charges for using an Amazon Locker, but standard shipping rates (including free Prime shipping) still apply.

Deliver to a different address

You can also ship to a different address by hovering over Account & Lists, then Your Account, and clicking Your Addresses.

Simply click Add Address and enter the details. For security reasons, you will be asked to confirm your credit card each time you place an order using a new or changed address.

You can also delete or modify any address saved in this section.

Amazon Key

Amazon Key is an easy way to have Amazon packages delivered to your garage. It’s free for Prime members and works with Amazon, Amazon Fresh, and Whole Foods Market deliveries.

Hover your cursor over Account & Listings, then Your Account, and click Amazon Key Settings to get started.

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