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The Amazon Dash Button: The Doorbell of Instant Commerce

Amazon Dash has been around since the spring of 2015, and it is getting more popular all the time. If you do not know what Dash is, here is a summary haiku:

You’re out of Huggies     
You press a button
Your Huggies arrive.

Available only to select Amazon Prime subscribers at present, the Amazon Dash service brings consumers and suppliers one step closer to each other by creating an event that Absolutdata CEO Anil Kaul calls a “Zero Moment of Purchase.”

A small widget marked “Tide” placed next to the washer-dryer will send an order for one bottle of Tide, which will be delivered to the doorstep by Amazon Prime. Just one click, and it’s all done. Amazon has closed the gap between the customer and the store, between needing something and having it.

Predictably, this device has generated buzz ranging from breathless enthusiasm to outright horror – the proponents trumpeting the convenience of one-click purchases of staple products right from home, and the opponents aghast at having tacky branded doorbells stuck to appliances and walls.

There are some truths that must be gleaned from these devices.

First, they represent the future of replenishment, not of shopping. Most people will continue to trawl the aisles of their local supermarkets for their weekly grocery shop. Others will do so online. Some astute shoppers will buy a year’s worth of Huggies or Tide from Costco and save a bundle. But, even the best-planned shopping lists will overlook something. Amazon Dash is a recharge button for small ticket necessities – the thing we forgot to buy, or that we ran out of too soon.

Second, the Dash button represents a coup for the brand that makes it into the customer’s home. Pressing a button marked “Tide” removes the hassle of choosing between competing brands. That is a win for Tide, and a message to rival detergent makers – get with the new world of IoT commerce, or get out of the way. 

Third, these buttons speak the language of the new king of retail, data. A wealth of customer information can be gathered from this button and its companion phone app. This, too, beats a more direct and relevant path to the doorway and wallet of the shopper.

Fourth, Dash buttons do not spell the end of in-store shopping for brands and retailers. If anything, they stand to grow the in-store business by leveraging convenience and enhancing customization. These buttons hold the data to make this happen. They help generate offers for cross-promotions – baby clothes for the Huggies buyer, new washer-dryers for the Tide buyer. The potential for data-driven enhancement of the retail experience is unlimited.

Finally, for those who express horror at the idea of dozens of branded doorbells cluttering up their home décor, it is inevitable that subsequent iterations of the one-click device will be less gaudy and more dynamic, most likely embedded completely into a native smartphone app, rather than stuck to the wall of the nursery.

Amazon has, in its inimitable way, created and publicized another game-changing technology for the world of retail, creating currency out of convenience. The Internet of Things is fast becoming the Amazon of Things. Like every invention we have yet seen throughout human history, from the wheel right through to this little Dash button, there will inevitably be naysayers.

This is life in retail.

Our customers will tell us what they want, and it is up to all of us to listen, and keep up.

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Phil Granof, CMO

Phil is an award winning marketing executive with over 20 years of experience in marketing strategy and brand development. Prior to NewStore, Phil was Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Black Duck Software, a global enterprise software company where he successfully repositioned the entire brand, built a modern marketing organization, and simultaneously redefined an industry. As Chief Marketing Officer of NewStore, Phil combines his analytical data-driven approach to marketing with creative vision to oversee Demand Generation, Product Marketing and Management, Brand Development and Corporate Communications.

Topics: Mobile Conversion