Amazon has released new wi-fi-connected Dash buttons for people who never want to run out of laundry detergent, coffee, or diapers again.
The company on Tuesday unveiled the one-click buying system which mostly covers non-perishable and long-life household goods used in conjunction with white goods, coffee makers, and water purifiers.
The idea is that every household item that needs to be replenished frequently will get its own dedicated Dash button. In Amazon's vision, there will be a Dash button for shaving cream, another for diapers, another for coffee, washing detergent, and so on.
The buttons come with adhesive on the back, so they can be attached where appropriate - the coffee button next to the coffee maker, for example. Once connected to the home wi-fi network, the buttons allow the user to click to order from a range of around 200 items supplied by Amazon.
Currently the Dash button is an invite-only offer to members of Amazon Prime, the two-day delivery service that in future Amazon wants to be powered by drones.
The new Dash buttons appear to be an extension of a Dash system it launched last year aimed at its Amazon Fresh subscribers, its fresh goods delivery service. That, however, used a handheld barcode reader for multiple goods, rather than buttons dedicated to branded items.
The Dash buttons themselves are just one component of a bigger system Amazon is trialling called Dash Replenishment Service (DRS) that puts its fulfilment service between consumers and suppliers.
The standalone DRS buttons are meant for items in the household for which no machine is associated - such as shaving blades, creams, paper towels, and sports drinks. Brands would be able to supply consumers with their own-brand Dash buttons, presumably to keep them buying the same brand time and time again, so they won't have to jostle for attention in a crowded supermarket.
Amazon is also working with a handful of manufacturers to integrate Dash functionality into the hardware. So far these partners include Whirlpool, water filter company Brita, coffee maker manufacturer Quirky, and printer firm Brother.
The company is also on the hunt for all sorts of device makers that have goods to sell alongside their own devices. As Amazon notes, even if Amazon doesn't sell consumable items associated with a particular device, they can still use DRS and Dash one-click purchasing if they use Amazon's fulfilment service to deliver their consumables.
Amazon's main promise with Dash is that you'll "never run out" of particular products, but with so many conveniently placed 'buy' buttons around the home, you'd be forgiven for thinking it would be a little too easy for kids to accidentally overstock the house.
According to Amazon, every time an order is made, an alert is delivered to the home owner's smartphone, which they can then cancel if needed. Also, it won't fulfil a second order activated by a press of the button until the first one is delivered.
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