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Day one with an Amazon Dash Button

July 31, 2015 11:58 AM
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My first Amazon Dash Button was delivered yesterday. My first order placed with it will arrive tomorrow.

I admit I was feeling a little giddy as I tore into the small box containing the device and an instruction slip. Was this really going to work? Would it be such a pain to set up that I’d toss it in a drawer where it would remain for years to come?

Or would this change how I shop online?

The Dash Button is a device that resembles a key fob that, once set up, lets consumers reorder packaged goods by pressing a button. Simply put, the Internet-connected fob eliminates the need to go online to place an order at Amazon.com.

The instructions told me to open the Amazon mobile app, which I had on my smartphone already, get into my account and access a tab labeled Dash Devices, which was easily findable. Set-up took less than three minutes, including registering the device on my home network and selecting which of three Olay products I wanted Amazon to send me when I pushed the Dash button.

Pressing the button took a mere second. A light flashed green. I looked at the Your Orders tab in the mobile app and saw the message that my order would arrive on Saturday. It was immediate. It was impressive. Amazon delivered a “wow” moment.

A few minutes later a push notification arrived confirming the order, and giving me the option to cancel it if I’d pushed the button and placed the order by mistake.

“Seamless” is a jargon word much too overused by technology vendors and marketers in the e-commerce space because, when you get down to it, few things actually are. With Dash, Amazon comes darn close. The only hiccup I encountered was being unsure that when the light on the button flashed green that it meant the order had gone through. (The light was blue during the set-up process.) I also wondered how the Dash is powered. Presumably there’s a battery that’ll die at some point. But I’ll worry about that another day.

The product selection tied to the buttons at this time is pretty slim. I opted for the Olay button because I actually use a few of that brand’s products, but during set-up I found I could only choose from three Olay products, none of which I currently use. I picked one anyway because I was just too tempted to see how the process works—and I really, really wanted to press the button.

This is early days for the Dash Button, but at first glance, a button with more utility would increase my use. If I could set up the button to order more, different Olay product, like body wash in addition to face cream, that would make it more useful.

I got the Olay Dash Button for free, redeeming an offer code Amazon sent on Tuesday to Prime members. The regular price is $4.99. If the product selection is improved I might be willing to pay the $5 for the convenience of being to order with virtually no effort at all.

It’s worth noting that I’ve never bought any Olay products on Amazon before. I usually just picked up what I needed at Target when my supply was running low. That probably won’t happen anymore, especially if Amazon and Procter & Gamble (Olay’s parent) decide to broaden their array of Dash product options. So, in effect, I’m moving one more item I would have bought elsewhere to Amazon. Go figure.

I covered the early news on the Dash Button back when it broke March 31. A lot of the online peanut gallery at the time though it was an April Fools’ Day joke. But understanding the constant forward momentum Amazon has in retailing, I thought it was pretty clear that it wasn’t. There’s a breakdown of form happening in retailing and in consumer behavior. Consumers want to shop on their terms, where they want, when they want. It doesn’t matter if it’s at a store, on the web, a phone, or even at a button. (See Internet Retailer’s cover story from March 2015 for an in-depth look at what’s happening and how retailers need to adapt.) Amazon gets that. Now everybody else needs to catch up.

 

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