For a little over a year now, Amazon has been advertising their Dash Buttons - pretty self-explanatory, where you can purchase things in just a dash with the click of a button. The number one benefit to the consumer? A frictionless shopping experience. The number one benefit to the merchant? Brand loyalty.
The way it works is relatively simple - you just need to have an Amazon Prime membership ($99 annually). If you already have one - you purchase one of these brand-specific dash buttons (currently offering over 100 brands). The cost is $4.99, but the idea is that this money is credited back to you when you make your first purchase. Sounds fair and simple enough - if you already have a prime membership and truly plan on using your dash button at least once, then it really isn’t any extra money to you off the bat.
This button can be placed anywhere in your home - for example, can put one near your cleaning supplies and when you notice you’re running low on Lysol, you can simply click your Lysol dash button to reorder more. Now there are a few things to make note of behind the scenes. First off, beforehand you decide what specific product, what quantity, etc. you want to reorder through Amazon anytime you press the button. For those times you accidentally hit it or hit it too many times, Amazon sends you a notification for a chance to cancel the shipment, as well as only allowing you one shipment of the product at a time.
While they do have some steps in place to prevent friction during the experience, it still leaves us with a few concerns and if it really is worth it. Without a doubt, it is a very convenient device - if you are loyal to a certain brand and don’t care to compare costs across brands, then this is a great option. It’s also a great option if, when you reorder Lysol, you plan on ordering the same Lysol product every time. For those who might want to chance the products from each brand that they purchase from time to time, the button might defeat the purpose. Additionally, if you’re a savvy shopper who wants to compare brands and prices each time you buy new cleaning products, then this might not be the right fit for you either.
This innovative way to pay is definitely futuristic and is sure to stick in some form or another, however we must realize what’s going on behind the scenes when we choose this option. Although it’s great for the merchants as they get loyal customers by participating in the dash button program, it also leaves consumers forgetting how much they are really spending on their household supplies. The same way credit cards can have this dangerous effect, the dash button has the same out of sight, out of mind mantra. Regardless, if you do decide to adapt the dash button way to pay, do realize that this is just another innovative way we are seeing companies push the envelope in alternative payments.