You’ve Been Looking at Amazon Dash All Wrong

Amazon’s push-button technology is about augmenting your appliances and your life

amazon dash button

An Amazon Dash button for laundry detergent

Pressing this dash button allows you to immediately order detergent as soon as you realize you are running out.Amazon.com, Inc.

Amazon Dash is expanding its offerings in ways that have had us thinking. This seemingly unnecessary technology has a lot of potential as it evolves. The best part is that, if Amazon develops it correctly, Dash will only be limited by your own creativity.

If you haven’t heard about the “other” Amazon hardware released in the last year, here’s a quick refreshed: Amazon Dash is a single, Wi-Fi enabled button that serves one purpose: to order a single, pre-programmed item from Amazon. It attaches to any surface, and for things like diapers and garbage bags, it’s a slight boost to efficiency for people looking to streamline everything.

Take a look at the video:

But for a while, some of us read it wrong. Amazon Dash has been met with a lot of skepticism, and that makes sense: It’s hard for people to understand the value of a single piece of hardware designed for a single, simple task. Even the least frugal people would do a double take at the idea of paying $5 to buy a button that buys their coffee.

You (and the rest of us) probably asked “Why can’t I just put it on my grocery list? Why can’t I just order it from my phone right then and there? Why both with the button? Why pay for this?”

Let’s start right there. It’s not actually $5 per button. You pay $4.99 when you purchase a Dash button, but you’re immediately given a credit for $4.99 in future purchases on that button. So essentially, it’s free.

Dash will only be limited by your own creativity.
starbucks amazon dash button

A Dash Button For Your Coffee

Starbucks, along with a handful of other companies, has partnered with Amazon to become an early user of the Dash button.Amazon.com, Inc.

The folks at Popular Science talked about it, and while some were skeptical and others optimistic, everyone had something, somewhere, where an easy button would save them a ton of time and effort. It's not easier to use a smartphone for everything--we're just tethered. Maybe with Dash we don't have to be.

It's not easier to use a smartphone for everything--we're just tethered.

Amazon has another device already working on that idea. Alexa’s smart device integration can command everything from thermostats to coffeemakers via Wi-Fi; from your phone you can handle things simply and easily. It’s not the only service doing that, but with Dash it would be the first to allow you to add a re-order button for supplies. You can purchase more coffee from a Dash button while filling your coffeemaker, then go to bed. The next morning, tell an Alexa unit in your bedroom to wait an extra hour to brew the coffee so you can sleep in, and wake up to a shipping notification and a fresh cup of joe all without ever touching your computer or your phone. Sure you can do that now--your coffee options are just limited.

Here's everything Dash currently offers. What comes next? We don't know yet, but there are things we'd like to see.

The key question is how Amazon will add new products. At the moment, partnered releases are clearly the big ticket: high brand recognition products who benefit from being early associates of the program. But I don’t need rapid, immediate reordering capabilities for Slim Jim, and there aren’t tons of people who will in the grand scheme of Amazon. Batteries and trash bags make more sense. But maybe it’s not just more partnered products; in fact, maybe they’re done with that strategy.

The next Dash buttons should be blank ones that you can program yourself.

If Amazon is smart, the next Dash buttons should be blank ones that you can program yourself for certain products you buy that aren’t yet partnered. Maybe that’s a brand of tea bags Amazon hasn’t picked yet, or maybe it’s for copier paper for your home office. Maybe you link Dash buttons to art supplies, light bulbs, or paper clips. It doesn’t really matter what it is: the idea is that items you forget to buy and often run out of become things ordered by the push of a button.