Amazon has unveiled a new Wi-Fi enabled service called Dash that allows users to order items from the site simply by pressing a button.
Dash – which Amazon has confirmed is not an April Fool joke – works by allowing the users to customise the button to a specific product on Amazon’s website.
“Dash Button comes with a reusable adhesive and a hook so you can hang, stick, or place it right where you need it. Keep Dash Button handy in the kitchen, bath, laundry, or anywhere you store your favorite products,” the Dash website explains.
“When you’re running low, simply press Dash Button, and Amazon quickly delivers household favorites so you can skip the last-minute trip to the store.”
To stop any unwanted orders being placed the service will send a text to the owner of the account to confirm the purchase, and it can be cancelled within 30 minutes of being placed.
The service also only allows one item to be delivered per order before another one can be placed, unless the user specifically requests another one.
At present the services is only available to Amazon Prime customers based in the US, who can request a Dash button from the firm.
As well as the Dash button Amazon also announced the Dash Replenishment Service, which allows manufacturers to attach a Dash button to their hardware, such as washing machines or coffee machines.
For smart machines, the service can even be used to automatically reorder an item when it is about to run out.
“For example, an automatic pet food dispenser made with built-in sensors can measure the amount of pet food remaining in its container and place an order before running out,” Amazon said.
Amazon claims it only takes 10 lines of code to add this functionality.
Author’s view: This is an intriguing development and one that shows Amazon is trying to find new ways to boost sales on the site by making the idea of ordering from Amazon an everyday activity.
It could well pose a challenge to the major supermarkets, which undoubtedly get a lot of business from customers who pop in for one item and end up buying other goods too. With Dash the need for such trips will be reduced, although of course it will take many years for such a service to become the norm.