Amazon Kills-Off the Dash Button in Favor of Virtual Reordering
After four years’ service Amazon (AMZN) has retired the Dash button.
The branded devices were meant to make it easier to reorder frequently used products — you could stick a Tide button to your washing machine or a Listerine button to your bathroom cabinet and give it a little push whenever you were almost out.
Just two years ago, Amazon removed the $4.99 per device charge (which was reimbursed to consumers after the first order) and reported that nearly 6,000 Dash button orders were placed every day. But that was just a drop in the bucket for Amazon, which processes hundreds of orders a second during peak times.
Amazon told CNET that customers are increasingly using virtual instant reordering, product subscriptions and voice-activated shopping, so the day of the Dash has now passed. Despite this Vice President Daniel Rausch said, “There’s no doubt that that core mission of Dash buttons succeeded.”
What was that mission? Making consumers ever more reliant on Amazon for all of their shopping. Unfortunately for the Dash, it has been overtaken by the likes of Subscribe & Save, which lets Prime members save up to 15% on recurring items, accounts for hundreds of millions of orders globally and continues to grow year over year, an Amazon spokesman told Fortune.
The company also insists that the decision has nothing to do with a recent German court ruling that the physical buttons violated consumer rights laws because the price was not apparent while ordering.
“The change in the Dash program is not due to the recent decision of the Court of Appeals Munich. In fact, we plan to appeal the court decision,” a spokesman for Amazon Germany told Fortune about the January ruling. Germany is Amazon’s second-biggest market, with €26 billion ($29 billion) in sales annually, accounting for more than half of all online sales in the country.
“This is a natural evolution of the program,” the spokesman added. “We’ve always said we envision a future where you don’t need to press a physical button in your home to reorder products.”
So the Dash button now enters the Internet Detritus Hall of Infamy, joining the likes of the CueCat and the iSmell — although its spirit will live on with Amazon’s Dash Replenishment Services toolkit, which enables developers to integrate automatic reordering into household appliances, and the virtual Dash buttons, introduced last January.
Customers who want to recycle their physical Dash buttons can send them back to Amazon for free.