Amazon has created a solution to consumers going to their cupboards for household essentials, only to find their desired item was forgotten about in the weekly shop. But is it just a little too out there to catch on? And what will it mean for competitor brands?
Our friends at Amazon have done it again. They’ve taken a new technology and raised the bar for everyone else. Amazon has given us a glimpse of the future with its new “Dash Button”, giving its customers a new way to obtain certain household items.
The Amazon Dash Button is a small wireless-enabled button that is connected to the internet. Each button has an adhesive back and is tied to a specific product, such as Bounty paper towels or Huggies diapers. Watch the video below to have a glimpse of Amazon’s vision.
The idea is that once your supply is low (or completely depleted) you simply push the button and a new stock of paper towels or diapers or whatever else you need arrives on your doorstep a couple of days later. This new technology saves you those bothersome individual trips down to the grocery store for something you forgot. As long as you have a Dash Button for every item that you regularly purchase, you’ll never have to leave the safe comfort of your home again! Hmmm..
Amazon is already making these buttons readily available to its faithful Prime Members. They’re even free! However, the options are quite limited (only 18 different partners so far). If you usually buy generic store brand macaroni and cheese, don’t expect to find a Dash Button for it just yet (for now, Kraft is your only macaroni and cheese option). If this new method of enabling your appliances to do your grocery shopping for you does catch on we can expect more and more brands hopping on board.
As you can imagine, not everyone is instantly buying into Amazon’s newest release. Although it is a seismic change in how we shop, there seems to be a number of issues that many people aren’t willing to ignore.
For example, if you have a Dash Button for Tide laundry detergent, you’d better be sure that you don’t want to switch brands or product lines anytime soon! This is a great marketing technique for Tide considering once a consumer has its Dash Button, they’re basically a customer for life (or at least until they switch buttons for a different brand). Although we have our favorite brands for certain things, do we really want to be tied down to something that specific?
This new breakthrough isn’t particularly good news for smaller companies. With people simply reordering the same brands over and over again from home it leaves these small companies with no way of competing. If the Dash Button catches on, will we begin to see monopolies taking over?
Another impact is on new brand launches. All companies compete for brand shelf space, eager to be at eye-level with the consumer. If everyone ties themselves in to a specific brand with a Dash Button, converting them or even convincing them to try a new brand is going to be even harder. Will advertising and social media sampling become more important in the marketing mix for brands?
One fairly major concern with the new Amazon Dash Button is what happens when a guest hits the button repeatedly, such as the curious little hands of children wanting to know what they will do. Will you unexpectedly end up with 80 rolls of paper towels a couple of days later?
Luckily Amazon has foreseen this finer detail. The Amazon Dash Button is linked to an app on your phone where you manage what you’ve ordered and what’s on its way, so if you accidently ordered too much of something you will have an allotted amount of time to go back and modify your order. If your six year old hits the SmartWater Dash Button over and over again, you can amend or cancel the order with ease.
You can manage other features from the same mobile app, such as easily setting up preset amounts of how many of each item you’d like to purchase. If you want five packages of laundry detergent, arrange for that with the app. Everything is set up with your Amazon Prime account meaning that each time you reorder a product, Amazon will charge your credit card on file. Amazon has made it about as simple as you could ever imagine.
We’re eager to see what happens with Amazon’s Dash Button. Could this be an introduction to the Internet of Things? Has it officially begun?
There’s no doubt that home technology is headed in this direction. With new breakthroughs, houses will only get smarter and smarter. We can now see that even the products that we keep in our homes are advancing. Even if Amazon Dash isn’t an instant success, we can at least expect for these kinds of ideas to become more and more mainstream as more retailers start to experiment, eventually achieving our anticipated Internet of Things-based lifestyle.
So next time you use that last Clorox disinfecting wipe, and realize the weekly grocery run has just been done, you may be wishing you had its accompanying Dash Button. Otherwise, this entire movement might just seem ridiculous.