Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has made ordering household items -- everything from toilet paper and detergent to pretty much anything else you can imagine -- as frictionless as possible.
The company has gone beyond its website (where a purchase can be made in as little as one click) for ordering and reordering items. Now customers can add items to a shopping list verbally via the retailer's Echo wireless speaker/voice assistant. Some can even build an order for same-day delivery through Amazon Fresh just by scanning barcodes (or saying the name of the product) at home using the Amazon Dash wand.
Those are impressive technologies, but Echo costs $199 ($99 for Prime subscribers) and Fresh is only offered in very select markets. That's partly why the company has introduced its Dash Button, a small, Wi-Fi enabled device that literally makes it possible to reorder common household goods with the touch of a button.
How it works
Amazon is making it incredibly easy for its customers with the Dash button by bringing ordering to the location where items actually are. The company explained how it works on a Web page.
Dash Button is simple to set up. Use the Amazon app on your smartphone to easily connect to your home Wi-Fi network and select the product you want to reorder with Dash Button. Once connected, a single press automatically places your order. Amazon sends an order alert to your phone, so it's easy to cancel if you change your mind. Unless you elect otherwise, Dash Button responds only to your first press until your order is delivered.
The small device comes with a reusable adhesive and a hook "so you can hang, stick, or place it right where you need it," according to the retailer. "Keep Dash Button handy in the kitchen, bath, laundry, or anywhere you store your favorite products. When you're running low, simply press Dash Button, and Amazon quickly delivers household favorites so you can skip the last-minute trip to the store."
Basically, the Dash Button makes it so when you run out of paper towels, soap, dish-washing liquid, or any other household item, you can order a replacement without thinking about it or doing any work. It's incredibly easy for the customer and potentially lucrative for Amazon because it locks people into buying from the online retailer.
The button only allows a customer to order once -- locking out the item until it has been delivered.
Will it work?
The most brilliant thing about the Dash Button, which is being offered to Prime members via invitation only, is its price. The device costs nothing. Amazon is willing to give them away (up to three per household) in order to embed the technology in people's homes.
This is a brilliant move by the online retailer as it makes buying things you need (items you're not going to feel guilty later for ordering) almost entirely effortless. Why would anyone use the archaic method of writing something down on a shopping list to buy it later at a physical store when pressing a button will have it show up on their doorstep two days later?
The only question is whether Amazon's customer will want to hang the buttons in their homes, but at a price tag of free, you have to assume at least some will.
Amazon has found a way to remove even the small hassle of visiting its website and it should be a huge success. Prime customers are already loyal to Amazon and the Dash button is a convenient tool that makes replenishing needed items incredibly easy. It's a win for customers and potentially a huge win for Amazon.
Daniel Kline has no position in any stocks mentioned. He has requested an invite to receive a Dash button. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.