By Brianna Ahearn, contributing writer
Amazon is making new strides towards “The Internet of Things,” the movement concerned about connecting nearly every object in the home, with a new invention that will let Prime members get grocery and household goods replenished at the touch of a button, literally. On March 31, Wired reported that Amazon was introducing “Amazon Dash Buttons,” small buttons that connect to Amazon via your home's Wi-Fi network, and when the Prime user is about to run out of goods and order more, they just press the button and the products show up at their doorstep a few days later, helping them bridge the gap between running low and running out.
Due to the announcement's timing near April's Fool's Day, some industry reporters wondered if the offer was a prank, however, it soon became clear it's not. On the Amazon Dash Button page, Prime members are encouraged to request a free invitation for the service. Invitations will expire seven days after receipt of the email, and the offer is limited to three Dash buttons per customer while Amazon's supply lasts. Each button features a favorite brand, and is assigned to just that brand. Each Dash Button comes outfitted with reusable adhesive and a hook so it may be attached anywhere convenient for the user. A video on the Amazon Dash button website demonstrates how the button works.
The buttons are connected through the Amazon mobile shopping app on a smartphone, then the Prime member selects the products they want to be ordered automatically for each button, as well as the quantity and size. For individuals who may be concerned that a child could push the button and order duplicate products, Amazon assures Prime members that the Dash Buttons are programmed to place an order after the first press only, unless the Prime member configures it otherwise. Once the order has been placed, the Prime member will receive an order notification email so they can choose to cancel if they change their mind, or no longer need the product. There are currently 273 items for the Dash Button program, including trash bags, breakfast bars, canned pet food, diapers, and more may be coming.
Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Kinley Pearsall, an Amazon spokeswoman, says, “Some people will think buttons will be a silly idea, and it is a silly idea to think we will have houses full of buttons. You see the Tide button, you know it’s for Tide and the same amount you buy every time shows up on your doorstep two days later. But the real long-term goal is that you never have to worry about hitting that button.”
Amazon's moves to be an one-stop shop for customers has moved forward significantly with the introduction of the Dash Buttons. The retailer introduced Prime Pantry last April, letting Prime members shop in bulk for one flat price of $5.99 per box, similar to shopping in-store at a Costco or other warehouse stores. Amazon also recently moved into the home improvement space, by introducing Amazon Home Services, helping Amazon members locate a book reputable service providers for the home, such as plumbers and electricians. When it comes to “The Internet of Things,” Amazon is proceeding quickly towards that vision. With a reported over 40 million Prime members, Amazon will likely see how interest in Amazon Dash Button.