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Amazon adds brands to Buttons

News, 28 June 2016

SEATTLE: In yet another expansion of its retail and delivery offer to consumers, e-commerce giant Amazon is reportedly planning to add dozens of new brands to its Dash button feature later this week.

According to the Wall Street Journal, adding more brands to the household wireless replenishment device fits into its broader strategy of making "shopping as easy as possible, giving consumers fewer reasons to go to competitors' brick-and-mortar stores".

The thumb-sized Dash button device was launched at the end of March 2015 and the timing led some people to believe it was an April Fool's joke.

But 13 months on, more than 100 brands are involved, enabling consumers to order household goods at the touch of a button which Amazon then delivers.

It means, for example, that a consumer running low on Tide, one of Procter & Gamble's detergent brands, can simply press the button to process a delivery request.

Consumers pay $5 per button, but they get that back with their first purchase, while brands pay Amazon $15 for each button sold and 15% commission on each Dash product sale, on top of the usual fee of between 8% and 15%.

Seventh Generation, a Vermont-based cleaning products and personal care firm, is one of the companies that has been involved with the feature.

"It may not be the most intuitive feature," said Ken McFarland, Seventh Generation's director of e-commerce. "But Amazon is trying so many things and you don't want to miss out on the ones that work. You want to be out there if it does happen to be a hit."

Philadelphia-based Cot'n Wash Inc., another detergent maker, is one of the companies taking part in the expansion of Amazon Dash buttons and its chief executive, Jonathan Propper, is confident despite some signs of consumer apathy.

"Things can change. Look at the categories Amazon created that never existed before, like Kindle," he said. "There were people who said no one wanted to read a book off a screen."

According to research released earlier this year by Slice Intelligence, less than half of consumers who had bought a Dash button device had gone on to place an order, while those who did only ordered items about once every two months. Amazon's expansion of the service will test whether those figures improve.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal, BBC, Slice Intelligence; additional content by Warc staff