Brilliance of Amazon Dash Buttons

This past week, retail giant Walmart announced that it will close 269 stores in 2016, and I installed 6 nifty little gadgets called “Dash Buttons” from e-commerce giant Amazon into my kitchen. Both of these things are symbolic of the shopping shift occurring in our increasingly on-demand world in which leaving the house to buy things is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

Nowadays, companies like UberEATS & DoorDash will pick up food from restaurants (even some that don’t typically deliver) and drive it to you; Instacart gets someone to do your grocery shopping and bring it to your door, and Postmates will send someone to pick up cold medicine so you don’t need to leave the house when you have the sniffles.

So yeah, times are a changin’, but it’s not like this is a brand new concept. Amazon pioneered the online ordering & delivery movement, pouring gas on the fire when it launched the $99 annual Prime membership that guaranteed 2-day delivery and offered a host of media options. They are the original gangsters of e-commerce & convenience. And despite not turning a profit consistently, Amazon continues to build its moat, one Prime member at a time.

Take me, for instance: since joining Prime in 2011, I have purchased from Amazon 310 times. I have an Amazon branded rewards credit card that allows me to procure paper towels, TP, & Nespresso pods with points only, which brings me great satisfaction. I’m the annoying guy at retail stores who sees something he likes and checks to see how much it costs on Amazon before buying in-store. Suffice it to say, I’m an Amazon super user and have no qualms about it.

And just when I thought Amazon couldn’t get any more convenient, I discover the “Dash Button.” It’s the non-digital version of the one-click buy button on their mobile app that you keep in a room or near an appliance where you’re most likely to think, “oh, I need more of X.” Strategically placed Dash Buttons enable customers to “order more of X” faster than it takes them to 1) pull out their phone, 2) open the Amazon app, 3) search for the product they ordered last time, 4) buy with 1-click, 5) authenticate; 6) checkout — at a minimum reducing the ordering user experience from 6 actions to 1. Doing a load of laundry and realize you’re low on Bounce Sheets or Tide Capsules? There’s a Dash Button for that. Use the last of the dish washing detergent? Press it and forget it. Realize your beloved 3-ply TP is almost done? Dash some more!

What’s truly brilliant about these little gadgets is that they enable Amazon to a) find other ways beyond a customer’s phone to get them to buy; b) capture the purchase immediately upon the customer realization that something needs to be procured by simplifying the number of steps it takes to purchase; and c) build brand affinity among consumers & thereby cultivate meaningful partnerships with CPG brands. Let’s be honest, it’s not far fetched to imagine Tide starting to include its Dash Button inside their packages, encouraging customers to stay loyal and buy Tide every time, without leaving the house. I’m sure that’s all part of the master plan…

I’ll admit that at first I was cynical: “who’s too lazy to pull out their phone and just order that way?” But the number of times my wife has asked me to buy something we need on Amazon while I’m in the middle of doing something else on my phone, only to forget to buy what we needed far outnumbers the cynical thoughts, and therefore, I decided that convenience is king and I’d give these a try. For $4.99, you can purchase a Dash Button from major brands like BountyTideCottonelleFinishZiplocDixieClorox, and even Gatorade & Maxwell House, among others. I know that seems like an unnecessarily expensive price to pay for convenience, but here’s the kicker: you get $4.99 in credit off your first Dash purchase. So it’s actually free if you make one purchase, which, of course, then starts to become a habit. Pretty smart!

One of the coolest things about the Dash Button is how you set it up. You press and hold the button until the blue LED light starts flashing, then you press a button on your phone and place it next to the button. Your phone will emit a series of sounds that the Dash picks up on and pairs with. It’s like watching two tech devices talk to each other. Kind of weird, but very cool! (see video below)

I highly recommend snagging a few of these and stacking them in the kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room. They are so convenient and there’s really no reason not to! See all the dashes offered here.

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