First came home delivery, then the love-them-or-loathe-them self-checkouts, and more recently the growth of the convenience store.
Supermarket retailing is one of the fastest changing areas within the industry and last year, leading online retailer Amazon unveiled a product that threw a spanner in the works concerning conventional retailing.
So in 2015, in what many thought was an April Fool’s prank – they have announced the Amazon Dash Button.
What is Amazon Dash?
Amazon Dash is available to AmazonFresh members and allows shoppers to add items to their online shopping list throughout the day.
Connected to the users’ home Wi-Fi network Amazon Dash – a USB-like device – is quick easy and convenient. Shoppers simply say what they want, and the product will be added to their shopping list. Alternatively, users can scan the barcodes of their favourite items for them to be added.
When done shopping users just view their basket via their computer or mobile app and schedule delivery. According to the promotional video, most Amazon Dash customers will receive their order the very next day.
The Amazon Dash Button
Going a step further Amazon realised an opportunity to work with brands to develop the Button concept to allow consumers to re-order basic items at the click of a button! Check out the promotional video below:
By building a list throughout the day and simply pressing a button Amazon Dash and Dash Button means that customers never need forget an item again. The convenient size of the handheld scanner means it can be displayed in the kitchen and quickly used to scan the barcode on packaging as soon as a product is used up. While the Button allows for even quicker re-ordering. It does also have reliable measures which mean consumers won’t end up with hundreds of items if the button gets pressed many times.
Amazon Dash then it would appear signifies the end of the regular shopping list as many of us know it. But does it also mark the beginning of the end for traditional supermarket retailing?
The End for Traditional Supermarkets?
While it is premature to say Amazon Dash will singlehandedly see the end of the weekly trip to the supermarket it is an interesting move for grocery retailing.
With 1/4 of UK households buying their groceries online each month the e-commerce supermarket is a growing trend. Couple this with the growth in the convenience retail sector and it is clear that the traditional supermarket is changing.
Amazon Dash is just part of this industry flux.
The concept fits perfectly with the busy lives of active consumers. Shoppers who don’t have the time to trawl the aisles in their latest supermarket superstore to try and find the few products they need for the week.
Instead, shoppers can quickly fill their online basket pay when it suits them and book a delivery slot that suits them. This is similar to the click-and-collect culture that is growing in retail but with even more power given to the consumer.
Regarding retail strategy, this is an intelligent move from Amazon. It helps bring a tangible physical presence to their online business. It gives customers a new and unique way to do something as simple as their weekly shop.
Dash aims to meet the needs of customers in a new and unique way.
It is no secret that Amazon has multichannel retail at its heart; Amazon Dash is just one of the innovative ways it is bringing this to life.
Is Dash Just a Gimmick?
Cynics are calling Amazon Dash and the Button a gimmick product.
As one comment on Recode.net says this could epitomise laziness. But Amazon states that this about changing a consumer mindset from ‘I want that’ to ‘I bought that’.
Amazon Dash also means that customers have no choice over where they shop. They are forced to buy from AmazonFresh – and pay for the membership here – and have to select from their database.
It also removes the option of picking the best deals from around the web and could leave customers feeling like they need to make multiple trips to multiple retailers – both online and in physical stores – to secure the deals they’re after.
Supermarkets needn’t worry about their position on the High Street just yet.
As the Amazon Dash and Button develop we don’t see it posing too much of a risk to grocery retailing. What it does do is showcase the need for retailers to adapt and deliver new and exciting ways of engaging customers and meeting their needs in store.
As shoppers crave a quick and easy way to buy their groceries every brand retailer needs to think outside the box to deliver immersive digitally integrated experiences.
This blog was originally posted in April 2014; it has been updated to include information about the new Amazon Dash Button.