Amazon Prime Dash Buttons Go Virtual, Did Physical Dash Buttons Fail?

Amazon Prime Dash Buttons go virtual on apps, home page

Amazon last week quietly launched virtual Amazon Prime Dash buttons for web and mobile use, allowing Prime members to simply tap and order items ranging from Clorox to Play-Doh on their smartphones, tablets and PCs instead of tapping on a physical button attached to the wall or an appliance.

Dash buttons are more than 18 months old in the market. Prime members can buy one for $4.99 and get a matching credit on their purchase with each button. Amazon later slashed the price of the buttons to 99 cents, but continued to issue credits for $4.99, essentially paying the customer to use them.

With the digital versions, they’re free. If this sounds counter-intuitive to taking the trouble to manufacture these buttons, integrate them with wireless capability and market them, you can bet there’s a hidden objective in there. That idea is simply to get in front of people when they need them the most. This results in more buyer traffic, which is their objective n the first place.

There are now more than 250 Dash buttons for a wide variety of products that Amazon carries. The move to digital buttons is a natural evolutionary step. Amazon doesn’t give out numbers around Dash buttons or how successful they’ve been, but a digital version coming out a year and a half after the original product launch could mean that it isn’t gaining the kind of traction that Amazon had hoped it would. Alternatively, it’s working well for Amazon and they simply want to extend its presence from the physical to the virtual. We think it’s the latter, but either way, it’s a tool that makes shopping with Amazon easier than ever.

You can access the new virtual Dash buttons on Amazon’s mobile app for shopping, or directly from Amazon’s home page. Of course, it’s exclusive to Amazon Prime members, so you’ll need to be an active member to see this on your app or the site, after logging in.

Looked at another way, Dash buttons are yet another conduit leading to Amazon’s retail portal, just like voice shopping with Alexa on Amazon Echo devices. Apart from AWS, nearly everything Amazon does in the Prime space is designed to keep users engaged and interacting with Amazon in one way or another, eventually leading to more and more purchases.

Dash buttons are merely one more way to feed the company’s humongous appetite for retail, and their digital avatar is nothing more than an extension of that channel.

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