What is Amazon Dash? We explain what you need to know about Amazon's instant-ordering Internet of Things button now that it's launched in the UK.
(Update: 20 January 2017): Amazon has launched virtual Dash buttons, which are a digital equivalent to the existing physical product. Read on to find out how the might change the way you shop online.
When Amazon first announced its instant-ordering Dash buttons in 2015, we honestly suspected it might be an April Fools prank, but it turns out they were real, very real indeed – so real they're now available in the UK.
Amazon Dash buttons promise to revolutionise how we shop, but how exactly do they work and why should you care? Let us explain.
1) It's a physical one-click order button
Amazon Dash is actually very limited by design. It's a simple single button unit that can be stuck or hung anywhere around your house. When pressed, it will order a single commonly stocked item from the online retailer.
You could place it in your bathroom for when you start running out of toilet rolls, your kitchen for your coffee pods, and so on.
As Amazon has your details on file, you don't need to do anything else. Just press the button, and the linked product will be delivered.
You can set up your Amazon Dash button using the Amazon app on your smartphone to pair the Dash with the product you wish to order.
2) Yes, there are safety measures
Of course, those with kids will instantly spot a potentially expensive problem. Kids love pressing buttons. Amazon Dash is bound to see 50 packs of Andrex turning up at once, right?
Fortunately, Amazon has thought of this. The Amazon Dash unit itself will only respond to the initial press until the product is ordered, unless you specify otherwise.
Also, you'll get an order alert sent through to your phone whenever one is raised, which will enable you to cancel any erroneous inputs.
3) It's all about the big brands
Each button is individually branded with a specific company's livery, reflecting the device's singular purpose.
There are 40 brands signed up to Amazon Dash as of its UK launch, including household names like Fairy, Huggies and Pedigree. But don't worry, it's not all diapers and dog food – you can also re-up your rye bread stash with Biona Organics, and not ruin your life courtesy of Durex.
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4) It's only for Prime members
As was the case when it launched in the US, Amazon's Dash initiative is only available to Prime members.
However, unlike in the early days of Amazon Dash over the pond, there don't appear to be any restrictions on signing up – it's open to all Prime subscribers, and you can buy as many Dash buttons as you want.
Buttons cost £4.99 a pop, but you get a £4.99 'discount' on your first Dash order, making them essentially free.
5) What's the Dash Replenishment Service?
Amazon is going one step further than offering a button dedicated to ordering a single product – it wants to sell you the stuff you need before you even realise you need it.
Leveraging the Internet of Things, Amazon's Dash Replenishment Service lets products with IoT capabilities automatically register the need to re-stock, so you can be shipped your essentials without even pressing a button.
Some of the participating manufacturers at launch include Samsung, Bosch, Whirlpool and Brother. Has there ever been a more tantalising prospect than finding printer ink on your doorstep at exactly the right time?
6) There are virtual dash buttons too
In January 2017, Amazon went on step further and introduced virtual Dash Buttons that make it easier to purchase products you need often online.
(Image credit: Recode)
The virtual Dash buttons will end up on Amazon’s website and in the app, and show up based on items you have recently ordered – or items you frequently order. Just like with Dash proper, tapping a virtual Dash button will place an order in a single click.
The Dash buttons are completely free to use too, so it’s sure to be a popular money-spinner for Amazon.
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Will you use Amazon Dash? Let us know in the comments below.