Someone at Amazon marketing is brilliant – launch a new product so novel, on March 31st – that you’ll get extra media attention with the “Is it an April Fool’s joke?” coverage. But the Amazon Dash button is no April Fool’s joke. And ultimately it’s all about the Internet of Things.
Basically the Amazon Dash button is a one-product one-click reorder device. By setting up the Amazon Dash button, you are telling Amazon to one-click order that one product. That said, under the Amazon Dash button terms of service (see below), you can have up to 3 Amazon Dash buttons per household, so potentially you can have three Dash products.
The tiny, keyring fob-size button works by hooking in to your Amazon account via the Amazon Dash button options in the Amazon phone app (which in turns uses your wifi).
Amazon Dash button – Tide Version
Amazon Dash button section of Amazon app
You pre-select the product you want through the app (or, presumably, through your Amazon account once you have the app and button set up).
As of the time of this writing (Amazon Dash button launch day) there are more than 250 products that you can tie to your Dash button.
Things You Can Get with Your Amazon Dash button
Amazon explains that the purpose of the Dash button is so that when you are running low on your Dash product, you can “simply press Dash Button, and Amazon quickly delivers household favorites so you can skip the last-minute trip to the store.”
You also get an order alert sent via the app on your phone in case you change your mind or order by mistake.
The Dash button also has a built-in only-order-one-at-a-time mechanism; in fact the button “responds only to your first press until your order is delivered,” says Amazon.
You may think this is a bug, but when you consider households with other people who may not know that you already pressed the button to reorder (or kids who may think it’s fun to push the button), its usefulness becomes apparent.
The button comes with a hanging loop as well as being adhesive backed, so that you can either hang it or stick it to a place that is convenient for you.
It also has an indictor light that, depending on the colour it is displaying, tells you whether your order was placed (green), and whether it is connected to your wifi (blue). Red indicates trouble (either the device is not set up, or it could not connect to your wifi).
At this point, the Amazon Dash button is only available to Amazon Prime members, and only by invitation at that.
Of course, this is all subject to Amazon Dash button terms and conditions, which include:
- Only Amazon Prime members who receive an email from Amazon with an invitation to receive a free Dash Button are eligible for this offer.
- Invitation expires seven days after receipt of the email./li>
- Offer limited to three Dash Buttons per customer and account while supplies last./li>
- Amazon reserves the right to modify or cancel the offer at any time./li>
- Offer is non-transferable and may not be resold./li>
- Offer valid for customers located and with billing addresses in the 50 United States and the District of Columbia./li>
- If you violate any of these terms, the offer will be invalid./li>
So, why would Amazon launch the Dash button?
The Dash Replenishment Service (or DRS, as Amazon abbreviates it), enables Internet-connected appliances and devices, such as coffee makers, refrigerators, etc., to order and replenish supplies on their own when supplies run low. Amazon gives the example of an automatic pet food feeder dispenser which can measure how much kibble is left, and order more so that Fido doesn’t starve.
So far appliance makers such as Whirlpool, Brita and Brother have signed up to be part of the Amazon Dash Replenishment Service, with more to come.
But not all appliances are connected to the Internet to approximate sentient beings (thank goodness), and for products that are not paired with such Internet-savvy appliances, explains Amazon, there is the Dash button.