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The Amazon Shopping app just picked up a nifty new feature for Amazon Prime members. You can now send a physical gift through the post even if you don’t know the recipient’s address. Perfect if you want to surprise somebody without spoiling it by asking where they live.

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This comes as part of a general improvement to the gifting system which just launched in the US. (We’d expect it to expand internationally in the future). With it, all you need is the phone number or email address of a contact. The only caveat is that the person must already be registered with Amazon.

To send a gift in this way, add an item to your basket using the app as normal. Then at checkout, select “let the recipient provide their address” and enter their phone or email along with any gift personalizations.

That person will then receive a message telling them they have a gift waiting and just need to confirm whether or not they’re happy to receive it. One benefit of this new system is that if the recipient doesn’t want the item you chose for any reason, they can opt to take a gift card for the same value instead – and you won’t be notified, so no hard feelings.

You can personalize your gift with a custom message and wrapping as usual, making this a better way to order gifts online for many people. With many of us still not fully comfortable shopping for gifts in real life, this is a welcome update to the Amazon app.

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