This week the Amazon Dash buttons were made available to all Amazon Prime members. Up until this point, they were only available to a smaller trial group.
The Dash Button is an interesting concept: A single button ordering system tied to a specific brand. On one hand, the limitation to a single brand feels like a missed opportunity. Why not just make the button tied to any product you want, a "name-your-product" button? On the other hand, I can appreciate the simplicity of the single-brand/single-product focus. It's simple, the data is clean, and impact is clear for the associated brand.
I think with the single brand focus Amazon is trying to prove the concept, showing it's initial brand partners the benefits of connected commerce. They're basically saying to their brand partners, "here's a new way to sell consumables to consumers. You get your own button and we move the point of sale to the point of consumption."
While some may call the Amazon Dash button silly, I think they're missing the point. Dash button is part of a bigger connected commerce initiative by Amazon, where the point of sale will eventually go from a button on the outside of the device to inside the device itself with Dash Replenishment.
The downside if you're a brand? Not much. Making a consumable purchase automated sounds really good, particularly if the selection is limited to your brand family.
For consumers, there's clear value in the convenience of automated commerce, but I think some will have questions and concerns. Consumers like choice, so any commerce solution tied to a specific brand may prove too limiting. Another concern will be security. If a Jeep can get hacked, wouldn't it fairly easy to hack my coffee maker and get access to my associated credit card? Lastly, some may have an existential worry about the idea of reducing all friction to purchase and bringing the point of sale to the point of consumption itself. Do we really want to make buying stuff that easy?
All of these questions don't yet have answers, but that's why I find the Dash button and Dash Replenishment so fascinating.