Amazon’s Dash buttons, the stick-around-your-house-to-tap-to-reorder buttons for consumer packaged goods (CPG), are now only available digitally.
The physical iteration was perhaps ahead of its time—in fact, when Dash buttons were announced on March 31, 2015, there was some speculation they were an April Fools’ joke.
By 2016, however, Amazon announced CPG companies had heartily embraced the technology and it had over 100 buttons from a who’s who of brands like Bounty, Charmin, Clorox, Doritos, Downy, Glad, Hefty, Huggies, Kraft, Maxwell House, Peet’s Coffee, Red Bull, Slim Jim, Snuggle, Tide and Ziploc.
Now, nearly four years later, only two physical buttons remained for AWS IoT and IoT Enterprise. Instead of purchasing buttons, the platform directs consumers to find them in the Accounts and Lists menu on the site or through the navigation menu on the app, as well as on Echo Show devices and Samsung Family Hub smart refrigerators.
This gives Amazon an advantage—instead of waiting for consumers to pay $4.99 a pop for actual buttons, it is taking the bull by the horns and automatically creating buttons for the products they have purchased that are typically reordered by customers. (Shoppers can also add new buttons from the product details page of any item available with Prime shipping by clicking, “Add to your Dash Buttons” under “Add to Cart.”)
Like their predecessors, virtual Dash buttons enable users to quickly reorder products with a tap. They have been around since January 2017 on Amazon’s app and website. They expanded to Echo Show devices the following October.
Then, in January 2018, Amazon announced its Virtual Dash Button Service, which allows third parties like HP, Kenmore, 3M and Epson to offer virtual buttons on their screened devices.
It’s a clear sign that machines are starting to make more decisions on our behalf.
Case in point: Amazon’s Dash Replenishment service, which debuted in 2016, takes it a step further, giving connected devices the autonomy to reorder products themselves. That means devices like Brother connected printers or GE smart washers can check product levels like toner or detergent using inputs such as infrared, pressure flow, weight and other sensor arrays to purchase more on the consumer’s behalf when necessary.
Participating device makers also include Samsung, Brita, Whirlpool, HP, Kenmore and Epson, among others.