Amazon has just rolled out a new dash button in the UK to order predefined goods with one press. Amazon Dash is a small electronic device which can be configured by each user to order a specific product and quantity, via the user's Amazon.com account.
The dash buttons can be mounted with adhesive tape or a plastic clip to locations where consumers use the products, like a dash button for Tide washing powder mounted to the washing machine or a dash button for Heineken beer mounted to the fridge. When a user is running low on a product, he just has to press the button to send a Wi-Fi signal to the Amazon Shopping app on the user’s smartphone to order new stock of whatever product the button is configured to order. It is possible to cancel orders at any time before they are marked as Shipping Soon on the smartphone. The product is then delivered via the Amazon Fresh service.
Amazon Dash is available in UK for hundreds of products including Colgate toothpaste, Carefree panty liners, Cesar dog food, Charmin toilet paper, Joola table tennis balls, Orbit gums and Illy espresso capsules. Very popular are also beverages like Fiji water, Gatorade and Red Bull energy drinks. Not available were so far alcoholic drinks.
Therefore the Heineken dash button is a novelty, which was immediately criticized by anti-alcohol activists. Andrew Misell, director at Alcohol Concern, said: “Research has shown that it’s quite easy for children to get around age checks on websites, and Amazon Dash could make it even easier. Clearly, Amazon is going to have to make sure when they’re delivering the alcohol that they give it to an adult. They’ll need to make this clear to customers when they order, and they may have to be prepared to take alcohol deliveries back to the depot if there’s no adult at home to receive them.”
As a direct response an Amazon spokeswoman explained: “We want to offer customers the ability to order lots of different products through Dash Button, and employ robust procedures to ensure we follow all regulations regarding the sale of alcohol. We operate a strict Challenge 25 policy for all alcohol deliveries and, if a customer appears to be under 25, they must provide proof of age. All alcohol deliveries require a signature upon delivery.”