Alexa and Connected Appliances Kill the Dash Button
Amazon has confirmed to CNET that it has discontinued the sale of Dash buttons. The Dash buttons were first introduced in 2015 as a way to reduce the friction of reordering consumables in the home and at the office. However, CNET reports that Amazon vice president Daniel Rausch commented:
Dash button was an awesome stepping stone into the world of connected home. We never imagined a future where customers had 500 buttons in their home. We imagined a future where the home was taking care of itself, including replenishing everyday items that customers would rather not worry about.
Connected Appliances and Alexa Eliminate the Need for Standalone Buttons
At this point, Amazon is saying “mission accomplished.” Many appliances are now connected and enable replenishment ordering. Samsung even offers a refrigerator that enables you to display virtual Dash buttons on a screen that enable “one tap” ordering. The Echo Show smart display also can display virtual Dash buttons. Amazon pioneered the “one-click” check-out online to streamline shopping. Dash buttons brought that one-click concept into the physical world and to appliances that had not yet become connected.
The home is very different in 2019. Not only do you have appliances that can facilitate reordering, but you also have Alexa in use by over 66 million U.S. adults. You don’t have to be in the laundry room near a Dash button or your washer to reorder Tide. You can just ask Alexa. And, you don’t need “500 buttons” because voice shopping enables you to just ask for what you need. Amazon announced that voice shopping through Alexa tripled between the 2017 and 2018 holiday shopping seasons. That might have been the signal that Amazon needed to know that Dash buttons were no longer needed.
Will Voice Shopping Change Consumer Expectations?
When Dash buttons first arrived many people thought it was a joke or at least a poorly conceived idea. However, consumer thirst for convenience made Dash buttons popular and introduced a new set of expectations around shopping, or more precisely, the ability to avoid it. We have heard many similar guffaws and skeptical remarks about voice shopping and even Amazon Echo was initially the butt of jokes. History tells us voice shopping will follow a familiar path of resetting consumer expectations and changing consumer habits.
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