Amazon has launched its Dash Button in the United Kingdom, allowing Prime customers to place orders for more than 40 brands at the touch of a button. Until now, the technology had only been available in the United States.
Each button will cost £4.99. However, the Seattle-based company has announced that Prime users will receive £4.99 off their first order, meaning the first device is essentially free. In today’s blog, we are going to look in-detail at Amazon’s latest push into the technology space.
The Dash Buttons are small WiFi-enabled gadgets that you can stick around your house, and use to buy a product without the inconvenience of leaving your house. The device itself has a simple design, with one large button on its front and the logo of the associated product. It comes with adhesive on its back to allow it to stick to whatever surface can help remind you of what you need to order.
At the moment, more than 40 well-known brands have buttons available from the Amazon store, including:
Out of toilet roll? Forgot to pick up a new razor? Once the button is pressed, what happens next?
An amber light will flash during processing and this will turn green once the order has been confirmed. If something does go wrong, a red light will flash to notify you that the order has failed to go through. A notification is also sent to your phone to say the order has been placed to safeguard against inadvertent or duplicate orders. As a further precaution, there is also a setting which prevents a new order from being placed until the old order is delivered.
Could Dash run into problems with EU law?
One technology law expert believes the Amazon Dash could run into problems with EU legislation. Daniel Widmann of Pinsent Masons told Out-Law.com that, because the Dash Button only displays a brand, and no product or delivery information, the purchase process does not meet requirements under German purchase contract law.
He says Amazon will likely say that this is covered under a 'master agreement' when the consumer orders the Dash button. However, the strict consumer protection laws in Germany mean that courts are likely to treat this as a deviating agreement and rule it invalid.
Any worries about EU legislation has not prevented other companies from following Amazon’s lead. Carling announced this week that it would launch its own ‘Beer Button’, which follows the same idea as the Dash.
The device is attached to a fridge or other surface, synced with the accompanying mobile app, and allows consumers to order directly when they want to replenish their stock. Leading grocers, such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons have already signed up for a trial of the service.
A few weeks ago, accessory maker Logitech also announced it would launch the ‘Pop Home Switch’, which would focus on smart-home applications. They say it will integrate with products from LIFX, Lutron, Insteon, Phillips, Sonos, and other manufacturers. The only real difference between it and the Dash is the way you push the button. Logitech say their device will have different reactions for a single press, a double press, and a long press.
Meanwhile, Amazon is also launching its Amazon Dash Replenishment Service (DRS) in the UK.
DRS is a cloud-based service that allows connected devices to automatically reorder household products from Amazon. For example, Amazon say DRS will allow a washing machine to reorder detergent or a printer to reorder ink.
The Dash is the latest step in Amazon’s long-term goal of dominating the smart home space. Its smart voice assistant Alexa, capable of connecting to and controlling various devices around the house, has already been a surprise success for the company. Only time will tell whether its automated purchase and replenishment service will have similar success in wrestling business away from the likes of Tesco and Asda.
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