in short - I need to purchase a smarthings hub in order to use Alex to communicate with the Smartthings Outlet that I bought
As explained to me after a long thread with Brian, a technician there (who I am very grateful to):
You speak the command to the Echo: “Alexa turn on kitchen lights” . From there the Echo will communicate via Wi-Fi (LAN) to the router. From the router it will go to your modem and out to the Amazon servers and back to your modem and router. From your router it will then send the command to the SmartThings hub (because they will be linked) and from our hub it will send it out to the lights (on).
Our hub acts as a brain and Zigbee/Z-Wave radio transmitter/receiver. Our hub will also utilize the router it’s connected to to also communicate with Wi-Fi or LAN devices (like your Echo).
Essentially Alexa does not have a Zigbee or Z-Wave transmitter or receiver and has no way to communicate with Zigbee/Z-Wave devices (why the hub is required).
Lastly - the hub is 50% off at the moment: https://shop.smartthings.com/products/samsung-smartthings-hub
Hope that helps!!