So, in case you missed it, Amazon recently announced its new foray into the Internet of Things (IoT), the Dash Button.
In short, the Dash Button is a programmable, WiFi enabled device that allows someone to press a branded button to generate an order for new products through Amazon. It’s more than a little ironic that “Mashable” would endorse a button. They praise it as the first “useful” IoT device.
Now without arguing the merits of connected light bulbs, connected thermostats, and connected door locks and the like, I have to respectfully disagree.
First of all, the current Dash Buttons are sponsored by a select few brands. They don’t allow for competitive products and price shopping between substitute goods. I’m not the first to bring this up as an issue, but I think that this is a major one, especially considering the marketplace Amazon has created. Their core customers are extremely price conscious and well versed in cross shopping similar products. I think it will be an uphill battle to get them to reverse that mindset to just press a button to order a premium priced product.
Secondly, I see an issue with the actual products they have decided to use as an entry into the market. Of course, consumables like detergent, toilet paper, and diapers will generate the most potential revenue and are good candidates for recurring purchases. However, here is the problem. Most of the products now available through the Dash Button are typically needed immediately, and most people won’t order them early enough in advance to make the device effective. If you realize you are running out of laundry detergent, it’s most likely on laundry day and you may just not be content to wait a day or two to have your detergent replenished. A trip to Target may be much more practical at that point. Having 3 children of my own, I’d argue the same about diapers and toilet paper.
Finally, as a husband married for nearly 15 years, I object to the Dash Button on a personal level. Currently if I forget toilet paper at the store or use the last of the detergent without replacing it, my wife is not generally pleased with me. Today I can argue that I got caught up with something or I didn’t have it on my list for the store etc.
Now just imagine there was a button right in front of me where the last of the product was used. Not only that, envision that button with a large logo on it of the brand itself, removing any requirement for me to actually “read” the text. I can only shudder at the well deserved lashing that would await.
“You mean that all you had to do was press a button with a big picture on it and you couldn’t even do that?”
Of course, Amazon sees the Dash Button as a stepping stone from current “screen” based procurement into a more automated process. I agree that appliances, devices, and furniture with integrated sensors and automated, intelligent decision making based on buying and use habits would be rather cool. I just don’t see the Dash Button as much more than a short-lived gimmick.
Do you agree? Tell me I’m right or pick a fight (you won’t win 🙂 ) in the comments below.