Amazon is opening up Dash Button sales to all Prime members, giving them a physical button that instantly replenishes household goods.
Amazon announced the Dash Button on March 31, leading some to wonder if it was an early April Fool’s joke. But the retailer was dead serious about the effort, and started shipping the palm-sized buttons on an invite-only basis.
Now, anyone with a Prime membership can buy a Dash Button for $5 apiece “while supplies last.” There are 18 buttons in total, covering popular brands such as Tide, Huggies, Gatorade, Gillette, and Clorox. Each button comes with adhesive for sticking it onto a dishwasher, kitchen counter, or cabinet wall. The buttons then connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi.
With Amazon’s shopping app, users choose a specific product to associate with the button, and how much of it to get with each press of the button. To prevent accidental orders (and to deter mischievous children) only one order can be out for delivery at a time, and users can get email alerts to quickly cancel new orders.
This isn’t Amazon’s only attempt to streamline the consumption of household products. The company is also introducing a “Dash Replenishment Service” that lets printers, water filters, and other connected home products restock their own supplies automatically as they run low. And with Amazon’s Echo connected speaker, users can reorder more goods through Prime with a simple voice command.
Why this matters: Frivolous as it may seem, the Dash Button prompted gnashing of teeth in some circles, as pundits noted that the buttons take away the shopper’s power to choose and promote a never-ending cycle of unquestioning consumption. But those concerns are hazy compared to the immediate demands of your diaper-consuming child. Keep on pressing, and it may not be long before an Amazon drone is at your doorstep to deliver the goods.