Amazon launches button for instant product ordering

1 Apr 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Amazon Dash Buttons Let You Order Products With The Push Of A Button.

(Bloomberg) — In its quest to connect people and products faster than ever, Amazon.com Inc. is testing a new service that lets customers instantly order household items like laundry detergent and baby food — without touching a computer or smartphone. Amazon is testing “Dash” buttons — small, plastic buttons that can be stuck anywhere — for instant reordering of everyday staples like diapers, papers towels and razors.Today in the Internet of Things, Amazon has unveiled “Amazon Dash Buttons,” tiny plastic adhesives that allow you to order your favorite household products with the touch of a single, physical button.Amazon AMZN -0.37% yesterday unveiled Dash Buttons, an easy way for customers to order select bulk goods via an internet-connected button, and Home Services, an on-demand installation and handyman service.

It links to a smartphone app where you can specify which product you want to order every time you press it – whether that’s toilet roll, washing powder, dishwasher tablets or razor blades. The new Amazon Dash Button has an adhesive strip and can be mounted to a washing machine or a kitchen cupboard, or anywhere a customer is likely to notice a certain product is running low.

The detergent-deficient user pushes the button, which uses home Wi-Fi networks to alert Amazon to deliver the item, saving the customer a trip to the store — or even a visit to the Amazon app. On Tuesday, Amazon introduced Dash Buttons, small plastic devices with white buttons on one end and built-in Wi-Fi chips that let users reorder specific products with a single click. You will, however, receive an alert on your phone giving you time to cancel the order should you change your mind – or if a curious child decides to press it. Dash Buttons are an adaptation of Amazon’s voice-controlled Dash ordering system that lets people speak to order new grocery items, and will allow Amazon Prime members to order one item with the push of an WiFi-based connected button.

Mount a Dash Button somewhere in the bathroom, and the next time you’re running low on toilet paper, click the button to have more delivered to your door. The idea is that you’d have a button for each of these things dotted around the house – one for washing powder stuck to the washing machine, one for nappies in the baby’s room and one for coffee pods by your espresso machine. Amazon, whose $99-a-year Prime membership service offers free two-day delivery on many items, is seeking to boost revenue and shore up shrinking margins by enticing these high-frequency users to rely on the company for even more of their basic shopping. Dash Buttons will be available for 18 commonly-used products at first, including paper towels, coffee, baby food, detergent, and (of course) mac and cheese.

The Seattle-based company is also expanding its one-hour delivery service in some cities, an effort to become competitive with the near-instant access offered by brick-and-mortar stores closer to customer’s homes. The Dash button is an extension of Amazon’s Dash Replenishment service, which will integrate wireless reordering connectivity into coffee machines, washing machines and other appliances.

While Amazon is trying to win more grocery business, the Dash may be a misfire with customers, said Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research. “Do we really need this device?” she said. “I can see this being much better for, say, ordering pizza, but for ordering diapers or toilet paper seems a little odd. Listed on that page are partners such as Whirlpool (re-order laundry supplies), Brother (ink and toner), Brita (water filters) and Quirky (which is launching a line of appliances including a fancy pour-ver coffee machine). Who waits until the last roll of toilet paper before replenishing anyway?” The company in 2014 posted its first annual loss in at least 12 years as it poured money into fulfillment centers, speedier package delivery, original video programming and its cloud-computing division.

Eventually any company will be able to offer their own Dash Button, and Amazon users can customize exactly what each one does through Amazon’s website. So what Amazon has is a retrofit strategy for connecting smart appliances to its e-commerce operations and a future-facing strategy for the coming flood of connected devices.

Amazon will only fill one order at a time, so your doorstep won’t be flooded with boxes if you (or your kids) press the button multiple times in a row. The simplicity of one-button tasks are appealing, although it could lead to a mess of packages ending up at people’s doors if Amazon doesn’t try to minimize waste on its end, by grouping shipments together when possible. Up next: The “Dash Replenishment Service,” a cloud-based service will be built into appliances (like washers and dryers) that will sense when things like detergent are running low, and instantly re-order them. People on Twitter seem mostly concerned about pets and small children playing with the Dash Buttons and ordering multiples of their Kraft Macaroni and Cheese boxes, although Amazon notes that if the button is pressed more than once, the order doesn’t go through on the second time, and you’ll get a smartphone notification about it.

Amazon on Monday also launched Home Services, following up on last year’s opening of a home automation e-store devoted to connected gadgets for the home — many of which require a professional installer. Over at Wired, writer David Pierce shares how his desk lamp automatically ordered replacement bulbs when it sensed its current bulb was about to die. “When it discovered the current bulb had just 48 hours of life, it said its goodbyes, moved on, and quickly logged into Amazon and bought me another one,” Mr.

The full list of launch brands according to Yahoo: Bounty, Tide, Gillette , Olay, Glad, Clorox wipes, Cottonelle, Huggies, Gerber Formula, Lärabar, Kraft Mac & Cheese, Maxwell House coffee, Gatorade, Izze, Smartwater, L’Oréal Paris and WellPet pet food. It also is focusing on maintenance, via a network of service providers that it can call on for its network of suppliers or for its own planned connected home play –something I’ve previously advised companies interested in the connected home to do as a way of closing the loop.

Presumably, the program will open up to any Amazon Prime member who wants to use it, and Amazon will allow a customer to install as many Dash Buttons as he or she wishes. Because while data and the algorithms that will be used to detect when there is actually a problem in the home are going to be an essential ingredient, we will still need the people on the ground to fix those problems for a long time to come. Is it, like the original Dash, more of a pilot devices designed to gather usage data to build other products, or is it an integral element for home control as I’m hoping?

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