Amazon Dash buttons multiply

March 31, 2016 03:34 PM

When Inc. a year ago today launched Dash Buttons, key fob-like devices that once set up lets consumers reorder packaged goods with a press of the button, some people thought they were an early April Fools’ Day joke.

They weren’t, although Amazon may be chuckling about it now. The e-retailer, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, today added 78 brands to the Dash lineup, bringing the total available to more than 100. Amazon says it is getting more than one order per minute via Dash Buttons which adds up to more than 10,000 orders per week.

Only Prime members can buy the buttons, which cost $4.99 each. When a Prime member places his first order with the button, Amazon credits that cost back. Each button is linked to a specific brand of packaged goods, and the consumer selects which SKU of that brand he wants ordered when he presses  the button. To make it work he has to connect it to his Wi-Fi network and pair it with the Amazon mobile app.

The buttons come with an adhesive backing so they can be attached wherever that product is used. For example, a button for Mucinex cold medicine, one of the newly added brands, can be attached inside the medicine cabinet.

Amazon hasn’t said how many Dash Buttons Prime members have bought, but Piper Jaffray Cos. analyst Gene Munster estimated Amazon had shipped 300,000 to 500,000 buttons as of Oct. 1. Amazon says orders coming through Dash Buttons grew 75% since January.

The brands and products added today include Lysol disinfectant, Airwick air freshener, Doritos snacks, Energizer batteries, Honest Tea, Trojan condoms (imagine where that button would hang!), Slim Jim snacks and Purina Beyond pet food. All orders are sent with Prime two-day shipping.

The Dash Buttons are related to the Amazon Dash Replenishment Service, which also launched last spring. It makes available to manufacturers the same technology that powers the Dash Buttons, so manufacturers can build auto-replenishment capabilities into their products.

Over the last year, several manufacturers have signed on. Brita, for example, developed a web-connected water pitcher exclusively sold through Amazon that measures the amount of water that passes through the filter and automatically orders replacement filters on Amazon when it is about time to replace it. Brother and Samsung Electronics have also incorporated the service to reorder ink for printers. More manufacturers are developing products that will use the service.





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