Amazon's Skip-The-Store Dash Button Choices Triple

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Amazon is making it a lot easier to skip those harried runs to the store because the family is suddenly out of milk, toilet paper or, now, Doritos snacks or Starbucks coffee.

In one of its biggest splashes since first making Amazon Dash Button payments available nearly a year ago, the Seattle-based online shopping giant says it has tripled the number of brands that support its WiFi instant ordering system.

The Dash Button essentially operates as a physical one-click payment. Amazon suggests placing them near the location where each brand's product is used — the Tide button in the laundry room, for example — to allow consumers to restock with the same brand as soon as their supplies get low.  Amazon bills the account of Amazon Prime members for payment and ships the item generally in two days.

Dash buttons connect to the user's home WiFi network to initiate purchases. Members of Amazon Prime, an annual service that provides faster shipping and other perks, can obtain Dash Buttons at $4.99 and receive that amount credited to their account after using the device for a purchase.

Members now have more than 100 Dash Buttons to choose from, representing top-name brands across dozens of retailers and thousands of products, Amazon said in a March 31 press release.

In addition to Doritos and Starbucks packaged coffee, some other of the 77 products added this week were Ageless La Cure, Air Wick, Arm & Hammer Cat Litter, Brawny, Charmin, Clorox, Downy, Energizer, Lysol, Schick razors and various other snacks, coffee and cleaning products.

"We're thrilled with the positive response we've seen for Dash Buttons and have heard loud and clear from customers that they wanted more brands," Daniel Rausch, director of Amazon Dash, stated in the release. In the past three months, Dash Button orders have grown by more than 75%, Rausch added.

Amazon did not provide specific numbers on Dash Button orders or usage, though Rausch noted users are initiating a Dash Button order more than once a minute on average.

The Dash Button is a stepping stone to future data analytics and prepayment apps that Amazon and others will develop, industry analyst Richard Crone noted in a PayThink article for PaymentsSource last year.

In that sense, Crone calls Dash Buttons a "placeholder interim technology" that will lead to services driven by shopping list apps integrated with cloud-based neural networks and predictive analytics, similar to the Amazon Mom membership program.

Amazon Dash Buttons give Amazon a base from which to work for future connected network capabilities as the company continues to dabble with payments, an arena in which it has had some hits and misses.

As recently as last November, Amazon dropped its mobile card reader business to focus instead on its one-click Pay with Amazon app and other embedded payments features.

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