In today’s world, people want things fast and easy. Even the act of opening up an app takes too long to some.
Amazon recognized this, and boom, entered the Amazon Dash. For those of you who don’t know, Amazon Dash is a Wi-Fi connected device that reorders your favorite product with the press of a button. Each Dash button is paired with a product of your choice, and when you’re running low on that product, you simply just press the Dash button. The button is easily set up and managed through the Amazon app on your smartphone so a notification (if enabled) is sent to your phone every time an order is placed. Essentially, it is an extremely quick and easy way for customers to ensure they never run out of their daily essentials and products they love.
For example, say you notice you’re running out of toilet paper. As a full-time college student working two jobs, I know this is not a pretty sight for me to see – the last thing I want to do is make a stop to the grocery store to get toilet paper when I have a million other things on my plate. With the Charmin or Angel Soft Dash button set up next to my toilet paper, all I would have to do is push it when I notice I’m running low and, voila, Toilet paper arrives at my door 2 days later.
Amazon just added 100 new Dash buttons, tripling the number of available brands to consumers. Brawny, Clorox, Peet’s Coffee, Doritos, Playtex, Red Bull and Starbucks are just a few of the names Amazon listed among the new brands attached to its Dash program. With the additional brands, several new retail categories are now represented, including snacks, vitamins, office products, pet supplies, feminine care and batteries, as well as new beverage options.
The Dash button is automating consumerism, which enables brands to further permeate the homes of consumers and has the potential to forever change the way goods are bought and sold.
At first glance, I couldn’t want a product more. $4.99 per button for much needed convenience? I was all in – until I started doing further research. It turns out, these Dash buttons have some cons, and severe ones at that.
First, it encourages customers to thoughtlessly purchase items. Pushing the replenishment button becomes a mindless process that could easily lead to excessive spending. I know, for me, when I’m not actually using cash or swiping my debit card to make purchases (i.e., having my card on file at my favorite online shops), it doesn’t feel like I’m really spending money. I feel like the Dash buttons would have the same effect.
Second (and worse, IMO), Amazon only offers a handful of brands. It’s great that they have just introduced 100 new Dash buttons, but certain products have extremely limited brands – you can, for example, get a button to buy Glad trash bags but not Hefty, or Charmin toilet paper but not Cottonelle. If you look at it, Amazon can control exactly what people buy with these buttons. This also forces consumers into brand loyalty, and many, especially the younger generation, aren’t ready to commit to one brand. They enjoy shopping around, comparing prices and try new products. The Dash buttons do not allow consumers to do this.
Going off on how Amazon can control exactly what we buy with the Dash buttons, I read an article about a person who always uses Gillette Mach3 razors, but the Dash buttons available only offered Gillette Fusion and Mach3 TURBO razors, aka the more expensive Gillette razors. Amazon slyly forces consumers to choose a more expensive razor if they want a Dash button. If that person buys their Mach3s through Amazon’s actual website, not only can they spend less money on more razors, they can choose from several pages worth of other Gillette razor options, full of different sized packs, disposables, bundles, coupons, and more. Amazon’s Dash button interface leaves these money-saving details behind along with Add-on Items and Subscribe & Save.
With that being said, I think it’s important for people to be aware of these cons before purchasing any Amazon Dash buttons. If you’re aware and still willing to pay the extra price for them, that’s great! But for me, I’m going to pass – the convenience isn’t worth it to me. Maybe if Amazon offered the option to program a Dash button with any product I want I’d reconsider…