If you haven’t heard of it already, the Amazon Dash button is the latest fad in online retail shopping.
A simple device that allows you to order your favourite products at the press of a button, the Dash makes shopping almost effortless, and saves on time spent scrolling through your phone or ordering through a desktop.
You can stick one onto your coffee machine, and when you start running low a simple push of the button will get espresso delivered to you within the next few days. Or put one in your larder, and restock your favourite products as and when. Amazon currently offers Dash Buttons for over one hundred products, ranging from drinks to paper towels. Most of the products are low-cost things that you buy regularly, so you will click the button whenever you realise that you’re running low.
The device itself is very simple, made up of an AA battery and a small circuit board. On this circuit board is a button and several small integrated circuits.
The Dash is a computer, albeit a very small one, that is able to connect to the Internet over your Wi-Fi network and send messages to the Amazon server. Once the message has been sent, Amazon sends a response that acknowledges the request, and the Dash Button changes the colour of the LED to green, then goes to sleep to save battery power. Amazon claims that the AA battery included in each Dash Button is able to last for at least a thousand button presses.
These buttons will no doubt increase revenue for Amazon, making it easier to buy from then, but it will also generate an incredible amount of useful data on people’s shopping habits. This data doesn’t just help Amazon; it also helps the product makers who are perhaps four or five steps removed from the consumer action, and so relatively unaware of shopping habits.
Dash Buttons are the first step to a system that automatically re-orders supplies for home appliances such as printers, pet feeders, and water purifiers.
In fact, Amazon’s looking to completely reshape the future of retail with a whole array of new gadgets. Here are some:
- A new Dash device that can scan barcodes – just scan the barcode, hit the button and Amazon will search their product list, find it and ship it out to you.
- A new microphone device – order a product without the barcode by hitting the microphone button and speaking the name: Amazon’s Alexa voice recognition system will try and recognise the name and add it to your shopping cart.
- Amazon’s hackable Dash Button – this can be used to trigger events like turning smart lights on and off, opening a website or ordering a taxi.
So what does all this mean for the future of retail? Moving forward, it seems as though the keywords are ease and immediacy. So look into new ways your small business could streamline its transactions, and improve and simplify the buying process for your customers.