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Adding a Dash of convenience

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The news that Amazon’s Dash buttons are coming to phones and desktops should take no one by surprise. In fact, it’s a surprise to me that Amazon didn’t do this from the outset – Dash is, after all, all about convenience.

I can see where Amazon was coming from with its physical Dash buttons, but was I really going to get one for my washing machine, one for my toilet roll (in both bathrooms), one for my shampoo, one for Daisy’s shampoo and another for the kids’ shampoo? I would be awash with buttons (plus I couldn’t trust the youngest member of the troop not to keep pressing them whenever she felt like it).

No, the physical Dash button was an interesting idea, but virtualising it is really the key to its success. What Amazon has done with the buttons to my mind is as radical a step change to ecommerce as its proposed Amazon Go store is to the High Street.

Just think, shopping made even more convenient: the things you buy often just there as buttons? This is going to revolutionise my shopping habits and, I have to say, would make me move from my regular grocery supplier to just ordering these things from Amazon as I need them.

As with the real world Dash devices, there is also a great opportunity for brands here too to get a high vis profile on home screens in front of people looking to buy. I can’t help but wonder if Amazon sees an alternative revenue stream in selling these to the highest bidder much like Google does with ads in search… just a thought.

But to get back to the real point, virtual Dash buttons tap neatly into the growing driver for all retail in 2017: convenience.

Ecommerce and, especially its mobile cousin, has made shopping really straightforward. You pick up the device, you open the app, you search, you click, you buy. It works really well for commodities (and, if you are a man, everything else!) and so adding your everyday boring purchases like washing powder, pop, toothpaste, toilet roll et al to being a simple to find, easy to use button just makes this all the better.

Being able to set it up so that you don’t have to fill in the delivery or payment details each time – just fire and forget – is going to shake up how all retailers think about selling. It will lead to the redesign of apps and homepages across the board; it will change how marketing works; it will make online retail fresh again.

It could also be the end of the curious habit of click and collect.

And, if the Amazon Go stores take off, then together these two innovations will deliver that paradigm shift in retailing that we haven’t seen since the rise of the shopping trolley and the supermarket in the 1950s.

It will also shake up the world of delivery too, as with more one off purchases of things like fabric conditioner winging their way to people is going to change how logistics firms work. It will also be a shot in the arm to locker makers and devices such as Pelipods that will become ever-more important. This is a real game changer.

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