Date
28 May 2017
Amazon's dash button can be attached anywhere a customer is likely to notice a certain product is running low. Photo: Forbes
Amazon's dash button can be attached anywhere a customer is likely to notice a certain product is running low. Photo: Forbes

Running out of diapers? Just press Amazon dash button

Ordering anything from Amazon for your kitchen cupboard has never been easier with an app but now you can do it without ever touching a smartphone or a computer keyboard.

Amazon.com Inc. is testing a dash button that lets it know when you’re out of, say, washing detergent, toilet paper, diapers or baby food.

The contraption comes with an adhesive tape that can be attached anywhere a customer is likely to notice a certain product is running low.

The customer simply pushes the button, which uses home Wi-Fi networks, to alert Amazon in real time to deliver the item.

Consumer brands such as Tide, Clorox and Huggies are available via Dash, according to Bloomberg.

Amazon, whose US$99-a-year Prime membership service offers free two-day delivery on many items, is seeking to boost revenue and shore up shrinking margins by enticing high-frequency users to rely on the company for even more of their basic shopping.

The Seattle-based company is also expanding its one-hour delivery service in some cities in an effort to become competitive with the near-instant access offered by brick-and-mortar stores closer to customers’ homes.

But the new service may be a misfire with customers, said Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research.

“Do we really need this device?” she said.

“I can see this being much better for, say, ordering pizza, but for ordering diapers or toilet paper seems a little odd. Who waits until the last roll of toilet paper before replenishing anyway?”

In 2014, the company posted its first annual loss in at least 12 years as it poured money into fulfillment centers, speedier package delivery, original video programming and its cloud-computing division.

The dash button is available by invitation only to select Amazon Prime members, with a limit of three buttons per customer. Prime members number in the tens of millions. The company didn’t disclose the size of the Dash button trial.

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CG/RA

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