The writing was on the wall for the Dash button, which Amazon discontinued earlier this year. However, loyal users of the diminutive devices were still surprised to learn Thursday that their buttons would cease to work by the end of the month.
Amazon announced the news via an email blast, while an Amazon spokesperson told CNET that the Dash button service was being nixed because its use has “significantly slowed” in recent months.
Dash buttons (for those who never used them) are little stick-on, button-equipped gadgets stamped with the brand names of specific products, such as laundry detergent, soft drinks, snacks, and other household items. The idea is if you’re running out of, say, Tide, you can quickly order more on Amazon simply by pressing the Tide-branded Dash button that you’ve stashed in your linen cabinet.
Each Dash button used to cost $5, but since you got a $5 rebate on your first Dash order, the buttons were essentially free.
Even though physical Dash buttons are on the way out, there are still “virtual” Dash buttons that you can access on the web, on an Echo Show, or on Samsung Family Hub smart refrigerators. The virtual Dash buttons are based on your past purchases, and you can check them out by clicking here.
There’s also the Dash Wand, a six-inch, AA battery-powered stick that lets you scan barcodes and automatically add scanned items to your cart. We had mixed feelings about the Dash Wand upon its release in 2017, however, and its initial $20 price tag has since spiked to $35.
Another alternative are “Subscribe and Save” items—everything from diapers and baby food to dishwasher detergent and toilet paper, which get automatically reordered on a regular basis once you opt it. You usually get a discount for “subscribing” to an item on Amazon, but it’s not quite the same as an on-demand order when your supply has run out.
Last and not least (from Amazon’s point of view, at least) is good ol’ Alexa, which lets you order items on Amazon just by asking. Indeed, it seems likely that Amazon would simply prefer we forget about all things Dash and simply call out for items in every Echo-equipped room in our house.