This is the Amazon dash button, a new device which is being heralded as the future of grocery shopping – by digitally ordering and delivering essential household products, literally ‘at the touch of a button.’
The Dash button can be attached wherever it is needed – for example on the front of the washing machine – and once pushed, it will send out a preset order to Amazon asking them to deliver the goods as soon as possible. There are two opposing camps on this new idea – and the wider concept of the ‘internet of things’ and ‘smart homes’ – with some people suggesting that it adds a further level of commercialisation and digital intrusion within the home environment, whilst others marvel at the convenience. Presumably there will be some sort restrictions in order to stop an over-eager toddler from repeatedly pressing the button and ordering 72 boxes of washing powder, or other accidental use.
The button design itself is extremely simple, it is just a simple one option device, with the brand’s logo on it and it can be attached wherever the user thinks it will be most convenient – for example the Pampers nappy button could be placed next door to the baby’s changing station (but out of reach of baby). The Tide dash button could be on or near the washing machine and the Gilette shaving foam button could be positioned next to the bathroom mirror. Once pressed, the orders are processed and sent wirelessly, using linked customer account details and order settings.
The motivation behind the technology is to promote brand loyalty – by being conveniently positioned within the customer’s context for use, both the brand and Amazon are able to secure the sale in real time – and by providing an efficient service, the customer will continue to repeat the sale. The novelty of the button will appeal to gadget fans, rather than budget conscious users, but the convenience may make the latter change their shopping habits too.
At the moment, the Amazon Dash Button is only available in the US, so we’ll be watching with interest to see how it unfolds, whether they bring it here – and, in the bigger picture for retail – how this small device might affect the local convenience store as we know it.