Amazon Dash Buttons 101

How to Order Household Items with the Press of a Button

Amazon Dash Buttons 101
July 28, 2016

Thanks to the Internet, shopping has become increasingly convenient. Amazon and other Internet retailers have extended this convenience to household items, infringing on the usual territory of grocery stores. Amazon Prime has made same-day shipping a reality in certain areas; Prime Pantry allows for savings on grocery and household items, and if you live in an areas served by Prime Now you can order simple items like paper towels and milk and receive them within two hours for free (or one hour for $7.99 extra).

It's difficult for Amazon to improve on that sort of delivery time, so where does the next innovation come from? It's in the ordering process. Say hello to Amazon Dash Buttons, a small device that allows Amazon Prime members to order a specific item with only the push of a button.

At approximately two inches long and one inch wide, Dash Buttons look a bit like flash drives. The front couldn't be simpler; it contains one large button and the logo of the associated product. There are currently more than 150 dash buttons available, including major household grocery items like Puffs tissues, Gatorade, and Doritos chips. Health and beauty products, child/baby care materials, and pet care products are also available.

Dash buttons come with an oval of adhesive on the back to allow it to stick to whatever surface can help remind you of the need to re-order — for example, the Tide button on the washing machine or the Cottonelle button above the toilet paper roll. (You can buy a Trojan condoms button, but you’ll have to figure out where to stick it.)

Each Dash Button costs $4.99, but you are given a $4.99 credit upon the first use. They operate through the Amazon app on your smartphone. A simple connecting procedure allows the app to recognize the Dash Button. Use the app to set up which product you want the Dash Button to order when it is pressed (for example, the Campbell's Soup Dash Button could be set for Chicken Noodle). For a recent sale in which Dash buttons sold for 99 cents while still offering a $4.99 credit, the best-sellers were for Cascade dishwashing detergent, Charmin toilet paper and Tide laundry detergent.



Once the button is pressed, an amber light will flash during processing and then turn green when the order comes through. Should the order fail to go through, a red light would flash. A notification will be sent to your phone that the order was placed as a protection against inadvertent orders (such as your Dash button being found by your playful two-year old).

As a further precaution, multiple orders are prevented unless you override the default setting to allow them. A new order cannot be placed until the old order is delivered, in case both you and your partner notice you’re running out of detergent. (Like he’d ever notice!)

All conveniences come with a downside, and Amazon Dash Buttons are no exception. The simplicity of Dash Buttons comes at the cost of price comparison.

Dash Buttons do not give price information when they are pushed, leaving you at the mercy of price fluctuations. You can set up the button to have Amazon send text-alerts on price changes whenever a button is pushed, but the need to check and review prices undercuts the single-button timesaving convenience.

Amazon Dash Buttons represent the first step toward automated household logistics, applying the principles of store inventory management to the home. Picture the day when your refrigerator places orders for you when you are low on milk or cheese. How about an automated pantry?

It remains to be seen whether America needs (or wants) that level of convenience. The state of Dash Buttons in three to five years should go a long way toward giving retailers the answer. In the meantime, Amazon and their retail partners are getting plenty of consumer data to study.


Photo ©amazon.com

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brittany.martinez530 | 07.28.16 @ 16:19
I do a lot of shopping on amazon and I see these advertised ALL the time. Quite interesting
Kailie | 07.28.16 @ 16:20
I've actually been quite curious about these for some time. Rather interesting.
Selena Walls | 07.28.16 @ 16:21
I do 70% of my shopping on-line, and this would come in very handy, as I have to make multiple orders due to a forgetful mind, if I don't think to make a list before I start ordering things. It would be so much simpler to order an item I need at the press of a button whenever I need to order it.
Erin | 07.28.16 @ 16:21
That's...a pretty neat innovation. I don't know that I would ever use it, but the great inventions people can imagine are awesome all the same. I'll have to look into this some more, thanks!
Kyle | 07.28.16 @ 16:22
I bought my mom one of these not too long ago because she was curious, it's actually pretty cool. Click the button and it automatically places an order in for you.
Jane | 07.28.16 @ 16:22
I'm not sure I like the idea of pressing a button to order something, but not knowing what the price is. I compare prices before ordering anything.
Carla Truett | 07.28.16 @ 16:23
I think this is a great novelty. I do a lot of shopping on Amazon. I'm thinking of getting a laundry detergent button.
Kamie | 07.28.16 @ 16:23
I remember when these were first introduced, they really seem like a simple thing to have. In your laundry room and you notice you ran out you can just click the button, no need to walk to your computer or phone then forget why you went in there.
Sarah | 07.28.16 @ 16:23
I have thouht about it but I worry too much about my kids hitting the button.
Irene | 07.28.16 @ 16:27
Those are really cool, and I do have amazon prime so I should make use of these
trish | 07.28.16 @ 16:29
I had never heard of these...definitely looking into. i have amazon prime, so I feel like I am missing out on something amazing!
Steffanie | 07.28.16 @ 16:31
I shop at Amazon a lot, but these have never been something I would use. Kind of scare me.
$commenter.renderDisplayableName() | 12.10.16 @ 09:03
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