The Amazon Dash button was a physical interface to digital shopping

In today's digital age, sometimes you can feel that the hardware has run counter to the software that controls the devices. Button of the Month is a column that analyzes some of these buttons and turns on old and new devices to appreciate how we interact with our devices on a physical and tactile level.

Buy on Amazon is an enormously digital experience. Until recent years, there has not been a physical way to go and buy things from Amazon. For the vast majority of Amazon purchases, there is still no payment lane, no aisles to navigate, no physical interactions at all: the company's "One Click" software eliminates almost all barriers between wanting something and buying it.

Amazon's now-extinct Dashboard buttons – small pods connected to Wi-Fi with a single button on them that would reorder a specific product – should change that when they were introduced in 2015. They offered a physical manifestation of that traditional experience Amazon: buy what you need with a single click.

The Dash button was a fascinating product, which represents the most brazen game of Amazon to enter your physical space to sell you things. Sure, Echo speakers and Fire tablets can access the Amazon store, but it's not their main function in the same way that Dash Buttons existed exclusively to buy. It's an almost bizarre idea: customers came out and bought Amazon tools that only allow them to buy more things from Amazon. He was also smart, wrapped in the bold and colorful logos of the brands for which your buttons were on the board; an Amazon wolf hiding in the sheep clothes of your favorite product.

But despite that, the Exit button was only a little successful. On paper, it was fine: a functional product that closed the gap between Amazon's digital store and the real world. Stay without coffee or diapers? Just press the button and more will be on the way. And the ability to place buttons for the devices that would need them was brilliant, allowing customers to order more detergent as they used the latter in a load of clothes, for example.

But the Dashboard buttons failed because, like hardware, they were too limited. Compared to the Amazon website, the Dash button did not offer one of the best online shopping conveniences: being able to compare prices easily and buy whatever is cheaper. And while that's great for something like Doritos, where imitators just do not cut it, it's less useful for ordinary household items, such as garbage bags, paper towels or soap, where brands are less priority than price. There were also problems with the fact that Amazon prices tend to fluctuate a lot, so you could never really be sure of what you would pay in a certain press (a fact that saw the buttons banned in Germany due to the protection laws of the consumer that exist). ).

In addition, for the products that really benefited from the buttons (such as printers with specific cartridge requirements), the buttons were victims of their own success when smart devices began to take over: the Dash replenishment service Amazon Dash meant that customers did not need a custom button to order more printer ink or water filters; your products connected to Wi-Fi could already do it for you.

And that's really Dash's autopsy, which was always a provisional appeal. In addition, it can be argued that Amazon was successful, in some way: Dash is dead, but the hardware, software and services of the company have even greater control in their home than ever before. Just not in the form of a button.

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