Amazon has launched the Dash Button in the UK.
What started life as an assumed April fools joke has arrived on UK shores and gives an intrigung insight into how Internet of Things (IoT) technology can potentially change the ways that people shop.
With the Dash Button, users can easily re-order household products ranging from washing up liquid to toilet roll. It is essentially a simple fob that is connected to a wifi network, and is purposefully straightforward in an effort to make online shopping as simple for users as possible.
Launching the product, Daniel Rausch, director of Amazon Dash said: "Dash Buttons offer the convenience of 1-Click shopping from anywhere in the home—they can be placed near those frequently used items you don’t want to run out of, and when you see supplies running low, the Dash Button makes it easier than ever to order more. Just press the button and your item is on its way".
This is the first time that Amazon is bringing its connected shopping experiences into the UK as its intelligent Echo speaker – complete with the retail-heavy voice recognition app, Alexa – is yet to launch outside of the US. With over 30 UK household brands already signed up to Dash, Amazon will hope that the service becomes a large part of their ecosystem.
While it is entirely concerned (for now at least) with consumable goods, Dash gives an idea of the potential for similar connected devices in the world of retail.
Mark Skilton, a Professor of Practice at Warwick Business School and an expert on IoT, believes that Dash is the first step towards fully connected retail and expects others to follow suit: "I see the Dash button as only a temporary solution, but nevertheless a key step on the road to the connected world it promises, and of course more revenue for the likes of Amazon. It will be interesting how the other major retailers react to this."
Likewise, Salmon CEO Neil Stewart said: "“The UK launch of Amazon Dash is a clear sign that we are entering a new age of digital shopping, powered by connected devices.
This new era of Programmatic Commerce will take shopping through connected devices one step further, with smart devices making purchases automatically on behalf of their owners."
For now it sems that in retail connnected devices will be focused on purchasing consumable products that consumers use on a regular basis, but retailers and etailers who pioneer further IoT shopping experiences – especially in the sale of technology – could see a huge benefit.
“Consumers have already wholeheartedly embraced the convenience and time-saving that digital shopping services bring," said Stewart. "The UK launch of Amazon Dash is a clear sign that customers are ready to take this further and embrace Internet of Things-enabled purchasing.
Retailers must move quickly to match Amazon and provide the services that consumers want. Those that fail to embrace Programmatic Commerce will be left behind.”
Amazon is undoubtedly the biggest name in online retail and with the launch of the Dash, the company is showing that it has a keen eye on things staying that way. What is clear is that if any companies want to get close to Amazon, IoT could be a vital platform.