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Amazon Touts Dash Numbers, Adds Brands Amid Questions On Usage

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Clorox and Ziploc Dash buttons Photo by Mark Lennihan/AP

Amazon is adding 50 new brands to its Dash button, the Internet-connected device that lets customers reorder paper towels, laundry detergent, and toilet paper by merely clicking a button.

Campbell’s Soup, Cascade, Clif Bar, Dial Liquid Hand Soap, Fiji Water, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers, Quilted Northern, and V8 Vegetable Juice are among the newcomers.

Amazon is aggressively pushing Dash as a way to make buying products so easy for customers that they barely think about it—and, of course, increase Amazon’s business in the process. With the new additions, Amazon now has over 150 Dash buttons for thousands of products since they premiered in April 2015.

Customers connect their Dash buttons to Wi-Fi and, using Amazon’s app, they can select the product they want to reorder for the specific button. Pressing the button automatically places an order instead of having to login to their Amazon account on a computer and checking out.

Dash Buttons are only available to members of Amazon’s subscription membership, Prime, for $4.99 each. But they are essentially free, because with the first order through a Dash Button, members receive a $4.99 credit to their Amazon account.

While Amazon may be focused on expanding Dash, questions remain as to whether customers actually use these devices. According to a Wall Street Journal report from Monday, less than half of the people who have Dash buttons have ever used the device to place an order, according to retail data company Slice Intelligence.

Those who have used Dash typically order something through it once every two months.

Amazon countered the report on Tuesday by claiming that the frequency of orders by customers using Dash buttons has doubled in the past three months. The company now says it gets two orders per minute through the buttons—or 2,880 daily—compared to once a minute in March, or 1,440 daily.

Such low volume would be insignificant for a business that did $107 billion in revenue last year.

The company also said that in the past three months, total Dash Button orders grew by 70%. That’s a slightly lower growth rate than in March of this year, when Amazon said that dash order grew by 75% over the previous three months.

Amazon makes money from the devices by charging brands for their own buttons as well as taking a commission on each sale, according to the recent report from the Journal. Companies like Campbell’s Soup pay Amazon $15 for each button sold and then also pay Amazon 8% to 15% of each sale.

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Critics have pointed out that not all brands are successful using the Dash program since it can be just as easy to pay for items, such as diapers or wipes, through Amazon’s subscription program. Customers can set up their accounts to automatically order diapers monthly and have them delivered to their doorstep.

Amazon doesn’t release data about which brands are most successful with the Dash button. But data marketing firm 010data estimated recently that Procter & Gamble is the biggest winner of the Dash Program, accounting for 31% of all sales. Other popular sellers include Huggies owner Kimberly Clark, Clorox, PepsiCo, SC Johnson and Kraft Heinz.