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Main article: Dash button

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Amazon stops selling stick-on Dash buttons

13:56 | 1 March

Amazon has confirmed it’s retired physical stick-on Dash buttons from sale — in favor of virtual alternatives that let Prime Members tap a digital button to reorder a staple product.

It also points to its Dash Replenishment service — which offers an API for device makers wanting to build Internet connected appliances that can automatically reorder the products they need to function — be it cat food, batteries or washing power — as another reason why physical Dash buttons, which launched back in 2015 (costing $5 a pop), are past their sell by date.

Amazon says “hundreds” of IoT devices capable of self-ordering on Amazon have been launched globally to date by brands including Beko, Epson, illy, Samsung and Whirlpool, to name a few.

So why press a physical button when a digital one will do? Or, indeed, why not do away with the need to push a button all and just let your gadgets rack up your grocery bill all by themselves while you get on with the importance business of consuming all the stuff they’re ordering?

You can see where Amazon wants to get to with its “so customers don’t have to think at all about restocking” line. Consumption that entirely removes the consumer’s decision making process from the transactional loop is quite the capitalist wet dream. Though it does need to be careful about consumer protection rules as it seeks to remove all friction from the buying process.

The ecommerce behemoth also claims customers are “increasingly” using its Alexa voice assistant to reorder staples, such as via the Alexa Shopping voice shopping app (Amazon calls it ‘hands free shopping’) that lets people inform the machine about a purchase intent and it will suggest items to buy based on their Amazon order history.

Albeit, it offers no actual usage metrics for Alexa Shopping. So that’s meaningless PR.

A less flashy but perhaps more popular option than ‘hands free shopping’, which Amazon also says has contributed to making physical Dash buttons redundant, is its Subscribe & Save program.

This “lets customers automatically receive their favourite items every month”, as Amazon puts it. It offers an added incentive of discounts that kick in if the user signs up to buy five or more products per month. But the mainstay of the sales pitch is convenience with Amazon touting time saved by subscribing to ‘essentials’ — and time saved from compiling boring shopping lists once again means more time to consume the stuff being bought on Amazon…

In a statement about retiring physical Dash buttons from global sale on February 28, Amazon also confirmed it will continue to support existing Dash owners — presumably until their buttons wear down to the bare circuit board from repeat use.

“Existing Dash Button customers can continue to use their Dash Button devices,” it writes. “We look forward to continuing support for our customers’ shopping needs, including growing our Dash Replenishment product line-up and expanding availability of virtual Dash Buttons.”

So farewell then clunky Dash buttons. Another physical push-button bites the dust. Though plastic-y Dash were quite unlike the classic iPhone home button — seeming temporary and experimental rather than slick and coolly reassuring. Even as the end of both points to the need for tech businesses to tool up for the next wave of contextually savvy connected devices. More smarts, and more controllable smarts is key.

Amazon’s statement about ‘shifting focus’ for Dash does not mention potential legal risks around the buttons related to consumer rights challenges — but that’s another angle here.

In January a court in Germany ruled Dash buttons breached local ecommerce rules, following a challenge by a regional consumer watchdog that raised concerns about T&Cs which allow Amazon to substitute a product of a higher price or even a different product entirely than what the consumer had originally selected. The watchdog argued consumers should be provided with more information about price and product before taking the order — and the judges agreed. Though Amazon said it would seek to appeal.

While it’s not clear whether or not that legal challenge contributed to Amazon’s decision to shutter Dash, it’s clear that virtual Dash buttons offer more opportunities for displaying additional information prior to a purchase than a screen-less physical Dash button. So are more easily adapted to meet any tightening legal requirements in different markets.

The demise of the physical Dash was reported earlier by CNET.



Amazon adds loads more branded Dash buttons in UK

13:20 | 18 October

Amazon has doubled the total selection of branded Dash buttons available to UK members of its Prime subscription service, to more than 100, just over a year after launching the push-button wi-fi gizmos, which let people reorder a specific product via its ecommerce marketplace just by pushing the button.

The first Dash buttons launched in the UK in August last year. Amazon now says Dash Button orders have delivered more than 160,000 cups of coffee and almost 300,000 rolls of toilet tissue paper in the market.

Although it’s not — in typical Amazon fashion — breaking out any hard metrics for the buttons, which cost £4.99 a piece (though users then get a £4.99 discount on their first Dash push order — so sticking these things all over your white goods comes with essentially zero additional cost, assuming you’re already locked into Amazon’s Prime membership program).

Reordering toilet roll is the most popular Dash push for UK users, according to the ecommerce giant. Followed by dishwasher tablets, cat litter, cat food, beer, mouthwash and baby wipes. So most definitely this gadget is one to file under ‘utility & convenience’ (not ‘shiny & sexy’).

Among the new brands willingly sticking themselves on Dash buttons are Bold, Cillit Bang, English Tea Shop, evian, Febreze, Flash, Gaviscon, Harringtons, Head & Shoulders, Pampers, Purina Gourmet, SMA, Tampax, Vet’s Best and Waterwipes.

The full list of new (and existing) UK Dash buttons can be found here.

For fast moving consumer goods brands, which inevitably have stacks of similarly priced rival products vying to catch consumers’ eyes on shop shelves, the chance to peel away and monopolize consumers’ attention in their own homes is clearly the equivalent of catnip.

Add in the fact Dash also reduces friction for repeat orders of their product and, well, there’s really no down side as far as the brands are concerned. Dash buttons for every kind of staple seems inevitable — at least until some kind of instant reordering gets integrated into products themselves.

Until then an unknown number of Brits are apparently comfortable pebble-dashing their homes with stick-on buttons. Or at least happy to put a Dash button for reordering bog roll somewhere near the toilet (hopefully in close proximity to soap and hot water).



There’s now an Amazon Dash button for underwear

16:56 | 25 April

Amazon this morning gave an update on its Dash buttons in light of its recent expansion to support over 300 brands, and, in typical Amazon fashion, it didn’t release any hard numbers in terms of Dash buttons in the wild, or sales figures generated by these push-button ordering devices. However, there was a hint that Dash buttons’ traction is growing – the company said that a year ago, orders were coming in via Dash Buttons more than once per minute, and now that rate has increased to more than 4 times per minute.

It also announced its first Dash button for fashion, with the addition of Calvin Klein.

It’s for underpants.

What a world.

The buttons were originally thought to be an April Fool’s Day joke when they first launched.

Why on earth would people need a hardware device that you press to place an order on Amazon? It’s not as if ordering on Amazon is difficult these days, with its one-click checkout and saved payment and shipping information. Is a Dash button actually easier than launching the app on your phone, and pressing “Buy Now?”

Apparently – for some at least – it must be.

The most obvious use case for Dash buttons are for everyday household needs, like re-ordering laundry detergent or paper towels or dog food, for example. But Amazon has allowed brands to create buttons for a wide range of products, even for things like Rogaine and condoms and ping pong balls.  

However, it seems the most traction is coming from those items consumers more typically re-order on the Amazon, according to another metric the retailer shared this morning.

Amazon says that for some brands, more than half of their orders are coming from Dash buttons for specific products, including those from brands like All Laundry Detergent, Folgers, Gain, Glad, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers, Persil, and Ziploc.

Yes, back up and read that again, because I know I had to. More than half. From Dash buttons.

Specifically, Amazon says that the following products get more than half their orders from the buttons: the 46.5-ounce All Liquid Laundry Detergent, 10.3-ounce Folgers Medium-Dark Roast Ground Coffee and 40-count Glad OdorShield Tall Kitchen Drawstring Trash Bags.

The buttons themselves are essentially free. Prime members pay $4.99, but that’s credited back with the first order. This is a clever trick because it actually forces you to try the buttons just to get your money back. And that means you have to go through the setup process, instead of just throwing them in a drawer, while asking yourself “what was I thinking?” and shaking your head. Instead, you have a working button, ready for more orders further down the road.

Amazon additionally announced more than 40 new buttons, including from new brand partners Caza Trail, CeraVe, Lifewater,Listerine, Sparkling Ice, Treehouse Kids, Tylenol, VOSS, Zyrtec, and others.



Amazon’s latest Dash button will send you a randomly assorted box of candy

00:20 | 21 January

Amazon’s latest (physical) Dash button is like a “I’m Feeling Lucky” for candy.

When pressed, the button will send you a box with a random assortment of small-batch candy made by “artisans from across the nation.” The box will cost $18 (with two-day free Prime shipping, of course) and can be ordered as many times as you want.

The program is called Prime Surprise Sweets, and seems to have quietly launched sometime within the last month. It’s still in invite-only mode — but Amazon says you will hear from them within a few weeks if you request an invite. We’ve reached out to Amazon to ask when this will roll out to the public, and will update this if we hear back.

So what will you get in your box? Amazon has some examples on their website, but most boxes seem to include about four different treats. Some examples are almond toffee, a caramelized blood orange chocolate bar and “espresso-rich Seattle style popcorn.”

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Each box will also have a tasting card sharing the story of each artisan and the details of what they created. Amazon also says they will try to give you a different assortment of treats each time you order, unless you order two at once, which may result in a duplicate box.

There’s no denying that these types of assortments are traditionally associated with a gift. But interestingly, Amazon isn’t currently allowing gifting of these boxes. This may be because of the logistics of it — a Dash button is programmed to send something directly to your house, and thus not require the additional step of adding someone’s address.

Of course you could get it delivered to you and gift it by hand (or re-mail it), but it seems like Amazon’s intentions here are more about providing customers with a fun surprise, and not helping them give better gifts.

There’s also a possibility that Amazon sees this as a way to develop stronger ties to small businesses across the country. Amazon’s marketplace as a whole would undoubtedly benefit from high-quality artisan goods like these candies, but sometimes it’s hard to convince a small business to join a big operation like Amazon.

Interestingly, Amazon says that some of the candies sold aren’t yet even available individually on their own marketplace, but the company will provide the website of each artisan so you can purchase it directly from them — a goodwill gesture toward small businesses that will hopefully pay off down the road for the e-commerce giant.



Amazon expands its Dash Button program to 50 more brands, says orders taking place twice a minute

16:03 | 28 June

Confirming reports from earlier this week, Amazon announced this morning an expansion of its Dash button program – the small, push-button devices that allow consumers to place orders of specific products, ranging from paper towels to trash bags to even bubble gum and condoms, via The retailer says today it’s adding over 50 new brands to the service, which now includes an expanded selection of consumer packaged goods, like soup, soap and crackers, as well as toys and musical equipment from brands like NERF, Play-doh and D’Addario.

The line-up of new names includes Campbell’s Soup, Cascade, Clif Bar, D’Addario, Dial Liquid Hand Soap, FIJI Water, FoodSaver, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers, Hubert’s Lemonade, Lavazza, Mentos, Nutiva, Puffs, Quilted Northern, simplehuman, Trident, V8 Vegetable Juice, and others.

In total, there are now over 150 Dash Buttons available to Amazon Prime members, up from 29 last year.

Despite their wide availability, it’s unclear how popular Dash buttons are with consumers. While it’s one thing to press to re-order a household staple, like toilet paper, it’s more difficult to think that someone would need a button to re-order something like Play-doh. (Unless, perhaps, you’re a daycare center?)

According to Slice Intelligence data cited by The WSJ, fewer than half of people who bought a Dash button since March of last year have used it to place an order. However, Slice’s data is third-party data – it collects information on retail transactions by analyzing the emails of those who have its Shopping app installed, or who use the Unroll.Me service to unsubscribe from emails.

Meanwhile, Amazon is claiming continuing momentum for Dash buttons. It says this morning that, over the last three months, it has seen orders doubling among those Prime members who use the Dash button to place orders. It says it’s seeing orders now taking place over twice a minute – that’s up from once per minute just three months ago.

In addition, Amazon says that total Dash button orders grew by 70 percent in that same time frame.

Dash buttons are basically free to Amazon Prime shoppers. Though there is a $4.99 charge to order, which is credited back after the first Dash button order.

For brands, they see the buttons as a means of connecting with their most loyal customers. They’re happy to tout how great the buttons are in Amazon’s release, but don’t reveal how much these orders actually impact their bottom lines by sharing hard numbers.

That being said, the buttons’ mere existence has prompted other startups to enter the same space of push-button orders. Tel Aviv-based Kwik, which just raised $3 million, is working on its own buttons, with brands like Domino’s, Budweiser, Huggies, and others already on board.

Still, Dash buttons are largely still an experiment for the time being. Though Amazon’s numbers indicate more consumers have been willing to try the buttons, to what extent those consumers will return to use them over time remains less certain.

Anecdotally, I haven’t used my own buttons as much lately, as I tend to have my groceries and other household staples delivered through an on-demand grocery delivery service…which, come to think about it, would be more useful to use if I could push a button to add items to their shopping list. Hmmm.  



Kwik raises $3 million to take on Amazon Dash buttons

08:11 | 22 June

Amazon Dash buttons have been gaining traction and Kwik thinks there is room for a competitor. The Tel Aviv-based startup has designed a similar product and is working with Domino’s, Budweiser, Huggies and other brands to make ordering a pizza as easy as pressing a button — literally.

And the team is announcing that Norwest Venture Partners is leading a $3 million seed round to help Kwik fulfill their vision. The startup hopes that this capital will help them move beyond their beta-testing in Israel and expand to the U.S.

“Consumers like the convenience and simplicity of smart buttons,” said Sergio Monsalve, partner at Norwest Venture Partners. “This market is too big for only one player.”

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Monsalve also believes that Kwik’s approach, which lets brands choose their delivery and payment partners, will encourage more companies to sign up for Kwik. “Their open ecosystem will enable the growth of many businesses, all along the supply chain.”

The buttons are free for consumers, but Kwik makes money by taking a cut of each transaction. Kwik acts as a liaison between the delivery and fulfillment partners.

Founder and CEO Ofer Klein told TechCrunch that he believes “any product which is a repeated service” is ripe for button-making. Coffee, pet food, or even taxis could all be ordered with just a tap.

Klein argues that physical buttons are more convenient than using a smartphone app. Some people, including senior citizens who may be less internet-savvy, like the simplicity of ordering a repeat transaction in just a tap. Klein said that early adopters are his targeted demographic, however.  

Perhaps we are reaching peak laziness, but Klein insists that “people would like to just not think” and see their pizza and beer arrive.



Internet connected bttn now half the size, adds long press

17:47 | 2 June

Internet connected button maker, bttn has launched a smaller version of its push-to-activate-a-digital service gadget.

The concept of bttn is simple: a push button device that can be placed somewhere in your home or business and linked with a digital action — such as ordering a taxi, or sending a pre-configured text message to say ‘I’m home!’.

Whatever your chosen custom action/s, they are triggered when someone pushes the hardware button. So, in other words, no need to interact with a pesky app.

The new bttn Mini is about half the size of the first gen bttn (which went up for pre-order in May 2014), and also includes an additional action to complicate matters (slightly): a long press which can be set to cancel or confirm a prior push.

The Finnish startup behind bttn, which also ran a successful crowdfunding campaign to get its gizmo to market, says the device has been most popular with small businesses so far — and it’s those customers that have been asking for the additional long press cancel/confirm option.

Happily the new feature is not limited to the bttn Mini; existing bttn users will be getting their extra push via a future firmware update.

The startup is not disclosing exactly how many bttns it’s shipped at this point but says it’s “more than 10,000 and less than 100,000” (so probably not vast quantities; it’s been shipping its buttons for just over two years at this point, with buyers in more than 100 countries).

The basic bttn costs €69 for consumers, or €99 for a branded version. Businesses do not buy individual bttns but pay a subscription, with pricing dependent on bttn volumes and length of time they sign up for the service.

One bttn buyer is France’s largest radio taxi operator, Les Taxis Bleus, which the startup says uses bttn in its concierge service, as well as distributing branded bttns to restaurants, hotels and boutiques — “where customers are frequently in need of a taxi” (that’s certainly one way for the taxi industry to fight Uber…).

Another example it mentions is Samsic, a real-estate and property management company that uses branded bttns in offices and buildings to signal on-site service or support need.

Plus it says online stores are also using its bttns to offer a “well-know re-order function” — much like Amazon’s Dash buttons for ordering staple products, then. (Also one way for smaller ecommerce businesses to try to keep up with the Amazon behemoth.)

Three types of connectivity are being offered for the new bttn Mini: mobile data, SIGFOX and Wi-Fi. The mobile data version of the bttn Mini is shipping from today, with the wi-fi version coming in July and SIGFOX as of Q3.



Amazon expands Dash Button line-up, top sellers to date include Tide, Bounty, Cottonelle

17:01 | 31 March

Amazon this morning announced an expansion of its Dash Buttons product line – those Wi-Fi connected, push-button devices that let you buy products from its site with just a press. One year after the buttons went live, and apparently not the April Fool’s joke people once imagined, Amazon says it now has over 100 buttons available, and orders have increased by more than 75 percent in the last three months.

The expansion includes roughly 80 more brands joining the previous line-up, including several now in the food and drink space, as opposed to consumer packaged goods (CPG).

Of course, Amazon being Amazon, the company declined to offer any real numbers regarding these buttons’ performance and their contribution to Amazon’s bottom line. It’s unclear how many customers have bought the buttons, how many are in the wild being used, or what they deliver in terms of sales, among other things.

Still, those who own buttons appear to be active users – Amazon says that Dash Button orders occur, on average, more than once per minute.

Initially, the devices were used to re-order common household items, like paper towels, laundry detergent, toilet paper, trash bags, dog food, diapers, and more. But in the year since their debut, Dash Buttons have rolled out for a variety of products – including, as of today, those you wouldn’t think require the convenience of push-button ordering, like gum, or food and drink products like Red Bull and Slim Jim. (Coders, maybe?)

You can even push a button to re-order condoms, if you like.

Today, the online retailer says it has tripled the available brands available in the program, which is only available to Prime members. There are now over 100 buttons to choose from, including new brand additions such as Brawny, Charmin, Clorox, Doritos, Energizer, Gain, Honest Kids, L’Oreal Paris Revitalift, Lysol, Peet’s Coffee, Playtex, Purina, Red Bull, Seventh Generation, Slim Jim, Snuggle, Starbucks, Trojan, Vitamin Water, and others.

Effectively, every CPG company wants to have its products available via Dash Button, it seems.

Since Amazon isn’t offering any true insight into how the devices are performing, we can only look to third-party data to come to any conclusions.

Earlier this month, a study from 1010data’s Ecom Insights Panel, which consists of millions of online shoppers in the U.S., revealed that the top-selling individual Dash Buttons were those for two P&G products, Tide Pods and the Powder Dash Button (both tied for #1); with P&G’s Bounty Dash Button at #2; followed by Kimberly Clark’s Cottonelle Dash Button at #3.

The data was collected from May 2015 through January 2016, the company said.

P&G, in fact, rules the Dash Button market, the study indicated, taking the lion’s share of sales at 31 percent. After P&G, Kimberly Clark (Cottonelle, Huggies) sits at #2 with 14 percent of the market share, and Clorox (Glad) rounds out the top three with 11.7 percent.

The study also found that the other companies in the top 10 included PepsiCo, SC Johnson, Kraft Heinz, Reckitt Benckiser, Amazon, Coca-Cola and Wellness.

Though you have to pony up $4.99 to buy a Dash Button, the buttons themselves end up being effectively free. With your first order, Amazon credits your account $4.99.

That wasn’t always the case – at launch, Amazon charged customers for the buttons, which seemed a little ridiculous. Spend money in order to more easily shop at Amazon, and therefore, give them money? Amazon soon realized that getting the buttons into the hands of shoppers was worth the $5 in the long run, apparently.

If you’re wondering what it’s like to use a Dash Button, you can check out our guide here.


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