/ Shopping, Technology

Would you order from the Amazon Dash push-button service?

Amazon

The newly launched Amazon Dash service allows customers to order favourite items at the push of a Wi-Fi connected button. But is this convenience service a step too far?

I admit it, I’ve ordered groceries online before. It was when I was getting ready to move into a new apartment and was worried about first night logistics. So I ordered some essentials to be delivered that first night. It certainly was helpful to know I wouldn’t be worrying about milk or toilet paper at 11pm after toiling away at bubble wrap and cardboard boxes.

But I get a bit precious picking out my produce and choosing offers, so I haven’t since ordered full shops online. I do, however, order particular items online that are harder for me to find locally, or I know I get a better deal on them online.

So as an Amazon user, I was intrigued when I saw the launch of the Amazon Dash Button – this Wi-Fi enabled button is connected your Amazon account and allows you order a product by just pressing it.

Amazon Dash service

These buttons only work with specific brands and products, currently around 40 brands.

To use it you’d first need to be an Amazon Prime member. You’d then have to purchase each individual button for each brand from Amazon at the cost of £4.99 per button, but the button’s cost is then effectively refunded in credit from your first purchase.

And then there’s the set-up process, which seems a little lengthy: mounting the button next to the product in your home, such as an Ariel button next to the washing machine or Listerine button next to your toothbrush, then setting up a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection, and then managing all your ordering preferences.

Novelty tech

After looking into it, I wasn’t sold and it didn’t seem all that convenient. As an Amazon customer you’re able to see past purchases online, so if routine purchases of an item are your thing, you could theoretically press a button on your mobile to replicate orders periodically.

For me, these branded buttons made me picture my home as less as a place to live and more as a way to keep inventory on a stock shelf.

I also quite like shopping around for deals, seeing what other products are out there and supporting local and smaller suppliers. Repeat orders from one brand would certainly make that tricky.

On a more practical level, I wonder what happens the buttons are pressed accidentally? The Dash service will only allow one order per 24 hours, so that eliminates multiple presses by maybe a child or pet, but the odd accidental press could get annoying. Of course it’s possible to return items ordered from the Dash Button, but you have to go online to do so, which means the Button cannot be a stand-alone service.

In a similar vein to the buttons, customers will be able to shop for products based off of what they have in their home using the Dash Scanner, a small wand-like device to scan or say what items they would like.

All in all, I can see the argument of swapping choice for convenience, but currently the novelty seems too much of an ordeal to me. For now I’ll be sticking to my normal weekly shop, but am keen to see how more on-demand services develop.

Over to you

What do you think about these Amazon Dash Buttons? Do you feel these press and go services make your shopping experiences more convenient or enjoyable?

Comments
Guest
Ann Rosenberg says:
3 September 2016

This service is yet another bit of technology which effectively keeps people locked into their homes. We’re forgetting what its like to go out into the neighbourhood to get the stuff we need when we need it. Once you are used to getting shopping delivered, food delivered, and now instant purchase of items – we will lose not only our ability to interact with the world around us, but electroncially someone out there can collect our data – so its an erosion of privacy too. We face a future where we are slowly losing our everyday living skills. Driverless cars, prepared food, disposable clothing (we can make our own!), labour saving gadgets (our grandparents made very good meals using knives, spoons and whisks), handwriting, ..the list can be longer. Technology is good, but we can get to a stage when we are so reliant on it that when it fails (and it does), we are physically and mentally helpless. And stressed!!

Guest

I wouldn’t have replied to this Convo but your post influenced me Ann . You cant say this wasnt predicted in SF films and books. Its one thing dumbing your mind ,its another destroying your spirit and thats what this new age is all about ,conform to our (business ) ideals of the perfect customer in buying from adverts , from obeying what you are told on TV and the media , in other words a “zombie ” existence. Play our virtual reality games dont go out “its creepy ” stay zoned in your own small world and let your more “wiser ” /betters -aka Masters control your life . Dont argue , dont dispute, but accept virtual reality as “real ” . Be born and die leading a closed secluded life like a nun in the Middle-Ages , then it was religion but now in this new age it has been replaced by Mind Control. Is this the life you want ? and to what effect ? learning for the masses drops dramatically as is shown by the lack of proper English/ unable to do mental arithmetic and having to be taught at school “Life Science ” which used to be taught by your parents and interaction with other people and walking in the countryside or even through a city. Soon it will be -looking out your window -look ! there,s an “Outer ” do you think he is safe ? and an “Inner ” is put forward by the media as “respectable ” and “wise ” .

Guest

Good stuff, DL – luckily we don’t have to inhale the full strength; not yet, anyway. Personally I hope this venture will fall flat on its face but Amazon are not noted for getting it wrong. I think we must spread Ann’s philosophy far and wide and protect our independent living skills – they are so precious. Amazon gets more like its namesake every day pulling huge amounts of stuff in from numerous tributaries and discharging millions of tonnes of silt into the ocean every year.

Guest

An Asimov fan, Duncan? Certainly a Caves of Steel reference in your post.

Guest

Ian –how did you know I have read just about every 50,s/60,s SF book by US SF authors also -some British ones too -eg-Arthur.c,. Clarke ?

Guest

You’d be at home with my library, then. We have 5000+ books around the shelves and I believe almost every SciFi story written between 1935 and 2000. But Asimov and Clarke stand above most, with Heinlein and the local Eric F Russell being among the finest, IMHO. Phil K Dick, of course, was one of the most portentous writers in terms of gloom and despair but I’ve long been interested in the ways the earlier writers predicted, often with worrying accuracy, the way society and the world would evolve.

Guest

And there,s me thinking I had too many books in the house . I have oft been criticised for the amount I have ,I am glad I am not alone , like you I am an avid reader ,spent a good part of my life reading books even into the small hours of the morning, cant put them down . Your SF collection sounds like “paradise ” to me ,and your absolutely right its as if Western society read them all too —and copied them into real life as a means of running society . I know the gloom and despair ones like a Universal Planetary Government in command of Outer Space coming up against another “species ” -aka- different political ideology(hint-hint ) and then Universal annihilation or the “brain washing” of the population to “conform” to a vision of society that turns them into automatons .Its not as if American SF films havent been showing the same for decades ,plenty of warning . We still havent mastered Interplanetary Drive yet , which is a good thing as we still havent mastered Peace.

Guest
Peter Butler says:
4 September 2016

Amazon is trying to take advantage of how lazy people have become. People drive everywhere and” park “as near as they can to where they want to be. Some will not walk even a few feet if the cannot avoid doing so. We have now got generation of very lazy people and it will only get worse. Obesity,not overeating but lack of exercise as well,which I believe is the main cause not junk foods