468 Retail and Channel Management Blog

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Amazon Dash – "There's a button for that!"

  
Imagine a future where you never have to leave your house to purchase repetitive mundane products again. One where you no longer need to go shopping for toilet paper, mouthwash or that same soda brand that you keep on buying over and over. Well, believe it or not, that future is now! With Amazon’s new Amazon Dash, they are changing the online retail space and are make shopping for these products as simple as pressing a button.

“Here's how it works. Amazon Dash currently offers buttons for over a hundred products, ranging from dishwasher tablets, to instant coffee to condoms. You buy the button and earn back the cost off your first purchase onto your amazon account. Then you set it up with the Amazon shopping app, choosing the exact product and your delivery preferences. From now on, when you run out of that product, pressing the Wi-Fi-connected button will simply trigger an order via the shopping app” (BBC, 2016). 




Thankfully the people of Amazon have thought of exactly what you are thinking. What happens if someone like my nephew presses the button a hundred times? Am I going to unexpectedly get a hundred boxes of Trojan brand condoms shipped to my place? Well just like those boxes of Trojans, Amazon too has put safeguards in place to protect you from a less than desirable result. Once an order has been placed, your phone will be sent a notification and the device will ignore all other button presses within 24 hours of your purchase.

This might seem like a simple niche technology that has a role to play but I would argue that it is the beginning of a much larger trend in the world of retail. As stated by the BBC, “Amazon is providing the first really compelling examples of how the so-called “internet of things” could transform our homes, with smart appliances talking to the network about their needs” (BBC, 2016).


Why do I think this will have such an impact? Well, with one simple button, Amazon has eliminated a key part of the buyer decision process for the major retailers who participate in this project. This part being the consumer’s evaluation of alternatives. If you commit and purchase a certain Amazon Dash button, service scape, product placement and even advertising no longer matter because the consumer has effectively made the decision to purchase this single low-involvement product indefinitely. The only advertising that the Amazon Dash product then needs is it’s own convenient logo on the button that sits comfortably in consumer’s homes. A pretty amazing feat for a smartphone app and a button that costs $4.99.

With the emergence of this simple but intelligent technology we as consumers now more than ever need to be asking ourselves hard questions regarding our purchasing habits. We need to ask ourselves if a little bit of extra convenience is enough for us to tie ourselves to big brands and consume those brands indefinitely. “For now, like it or not, shopping is becoming an on-demand, push-button, instant gratification experience and if the convenience granted by our technology is the only quality that consumers are looking for, we can expect a lot more from the US technology giant in the future” (BBC, 2016).


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