Amazon expands Dash buttons to all customers, virtually
Frequent Amazon shoppers will notice that as of Thursday, the right side of the e-commerce giant’s homepage features a column containing virtual one-click purchase Dash buttons based on household items they’ve ordered and may want to replenish.
The feature (first reported by Recode) is just another way that Amazon has found to take pain out of buying from its vast array of merchandise; a visit Friday morning by Retail Dive showed a personalized selection of six Dash buttons featuring goods from breakfast cereal to shaving supplies. Each shopper can add or remove buttons according to personal taste.
Amazon first launched the Dash automated commerce program in March 2015: There are now more than 200 different branded Dash buttons available. While the physical, WiFi-connected Dash buttons are $4.99 each (refunded with a credit after the first purchase), the virtual buttons are free on the spot.
It has been hard to figure out Dash's real success, considering that the program seemed to start slow, and it's been similarly difficult to pin down what Amazon’s own reported stats mean in terms of real numbers or real growth. Last year, Amazon said that orders surged 75% in the first quarter, though such high percentages are expected when still in the early stages.
Success is also what prompted the development of the virtual version, an Amazon spokesperson told Recode, adding that the idea actually came from Dash’s popularity and isn’t related to the pending expiration of Amazon’s patent for one-click purchases.
Amazon has certainly been doing all the things it needs to do to make Dash successful. One key to Dash’s growth — and one of the biggest keys to Amazon's entire corporate success story — is volume. Adding more products and more brands to give customers more choice, which Amazon has been doing fairly regularly since launching Dash nearly two years ago, represents one of the cornerstones of growth for any department store-style retailer.
And now comes convenience, another pillar of retail success. Dash buttons are no longer limited to customers who ask for them (and go through the process of deciding to try them, ponying up the refundable $5 and actually using them). To make it even easier to access and manage, Amazon is providing an “Add to your Dash buttons” notice on the page of any eligible product.
The Dash program extends beyond buttons, virtual or otherwise. Amazon’s Dash Replenishment effort allows device manufacturer partners to integrate Dash technology into their products to enable automatic supply reordering. For example, GE Appliances' WiFi-connected dishwasher measures how many pods are used by counting wash cycles, and when the supply runs low, it automatically reorders more.
Follow Daphne Howland on Twitter