When Amazon launched the Dash last spring they gave shoppers an easy way to re-order groceries and other consumables, and now they've made the process even simpler.
The retailer has just launched the Dash Button. This simple device has but single button and fills a single purpose: it lets you re-order a single item on Amazon (or possibly an entire order - it's not clear).
Amazon hasn't released any technical details on the Dash Button, but I think it's safe to say that we're looking at the device which went through the FCC yesterday. This tells us that the device has Wifi but no other connectivity or sensors, and that raises a few questions.
As you cans see in the demo video below, Amazon envisions its customers sticking the Dash Button to the wall and forgetting about it until the next time they need to restock. That's when the customer presses the button and the Dash Button does its thing.
An always on wifi device would be dead within a week, so I'm betting that after it pings Amazon, the Dash Button disables wifi and goes to sleep until the next time you press the button.
Amazon and its competitors (Target, to name one) have been offering timed re-orders for some years now. I think Amazon calls it a subscription, but no matter the name clearly the Dash Button is the next step in Amazon's plan to keep you from shopping elsewhere.
It's a nifty idea, but I don't know if it will prove useful enough to justify the clutter. The buttons may be small but by the time you get 6 or 7 stuck on the wall it's going to start looking tacky.
I can't speak for other consumers, but I'm much happier with simply keeping a spare box of whatever in the cabinet, and then ordering a new box when I open the spare. It's a low tech alternative, but it works for me.
Plus I'd rather shop at Walmart, where consumables are often cheaper than Amazon.
If you would like to try it for yourself, the Dash Button is available only to Amazon Prime members, and only by invitation. It's launching with only a limited number of eligible products, including items like toilet paper, cleaning products, dog food, and much more.
If you do get one, let me know what you think.