Amazon ends sales of Dash buttons in push for Alexa shopping
- Amazon has stopped selling Dash buttons, the physical devices that let customers buy name-brand household items like cleaners, detergents and toiletries with a single click, CNet first reported. Product subscriptions, automatic reordering, virtual Dash buttons and voice-powered Alexa Shopping led the e-commerce giant to discontinue sales of Dash buttons, the company said in a statement.
- Customers who already have a Dash button can still use the devices to re-order products for home delivery. Amazon plans to expand the availability of virtual Dash buttons in its Amazon Shopping app and website, the company said.
- Amazon previously charged customers $4.99 for ordering a Dash button, and then offered a $4.99 credit on the first order made with each button. The most popular buttons were for products that people frequently use, such as paper towels, toilet paper and bottled water, Daniel Rausch, an Amazon vice president, told CNet.
By incorporating virtual Dash buttons through voice, mobile app or smart display, Amazon's move to end sales of physical buttons could help to drum up transactional use of Alexa. In the past four years since Amazon began selling Dash buttons, the company started marketing its Echo smart speakers and displays powered by Alexa. The virtual assistant has eliminated the need to have dozens of one-click buttons throughout the home. The company in December said that customer shopping on Alexa had tripled from the prior year as the popularity of voice shopping slowly gains traction.
The buttons were initially mocked when the company introduced them on March 31, 2015, with many people wondering if they were an April Fools' Day joke. Instead, the devices became a stepping stone toward Internet-of-Things integration with the e-commerce giant's shopping platform. Customers can wirelessly connect the company's Dash Replenishment Service to hundreds of products and appliances from major manufacturers such as Whirlpool and Samsung. That means connected devices can now automatically re-order products like laundry detergent, water filters or printer ink without pushing a button.
Amazon came up with the devices in trying "to make shopping disappear" for products that aren't necessarily exciting to buy, as Rausch explained to CNet. The company shipped millions of the gadgets, with brands like Tide laundry detergent, Gillette razors, Bounty paper towels, Glad trash bags and Cottonelle toilet paper available for one-click ordering. Dash buttons faced a legal roadblock this year when a German court ruled that the devices broke consumer protection laws by not giving enough information about products or prices. A regional consumer protection watchdog brought the case against Amazon, claiming that the company put consumers at a disadvantage by making price comparisons more difficult, per Reuters.