The first batch of household appliances supporting Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) Dash Replenishment Service (DRS) are ready for customers. After customers set up preorder levels for automated orders, DRS-enabled appliances can automatically reorder consumable items like detergent before they run out.
The DRS system is a more streamlined approach than Amazon's Dash buttons and barcode scanner, which respectively require the customer to manually push a button or scan a product to place online orders.
Meet the first DRS devices
The first DRS-ready devices include Brother printers that can reorder ink cartridges, a General Electric (NYSE:GE) washing machine that reorders detergent, and a Gmate SMART blood glucose monitor that reorders blood glucose strips.
Appliance giant Whirlpool (NYSE:WHR) has also committed to integrating DRS into its new smart washers, dryers, and dishwashers. Various other device makers, including Samsung, Brita, Oster, and Sealed Air, have also committed to developing DRS-compatible appliances. The underlying theme is the same --- to turn the razor in the "razor-to-blades" model into an automated ordering device for the blades.
Amazon has also publicly released the DRS APIs, which means that any company that wants to integrate DRS into its devices can simply download the code from Amazon's website.
Why is Amazon doing this?
Expanding the DRS ecosystem helps Amazon in three ways. First, it reduces the "friction" between deciding to buy something and placing an order online. This will inevitably boost sales of consumables from Amazon, which customers might otherwise purchase from brick-and-mortar stores. Second, it allows Amazon to gather more customer data on purchases, which it can use for recommendations. Lastly, it expands its ecosystem from Kindle tablets, Fire TV set-top boxes, and the Echo smart speaker into connected "smart homes".
It's unclear if Amazon's ambitious plan, which partially relies on consumers blindly placing orders without checking or comparing prices, will actually work. Nonetheless, it's an interesting initiative to keep an eye on, since Amazon has dramatically changed how consumers shop in the past.