On Wednesday, the Seattle-based company announced that Prime members will be able to purchase a Dash Button for $4.99, following a limited period where select Prime members were able to receive a button for free. Each button is tied to one of 18 specific items, such as Tide laundry detergent or Maxwell House coffee, that can be repeatedly re-ordered without opening up a website or app.
When Amazon first announced the button in April, many thought it was actually an April Fools' Day joke. But it appears that Amazon is 100% serious about this button.
The Dash Button is clearly another play from Amazon to get Prime members to order more on Amazon. If a consumer hangs a button for Tide detergent above their laundry machine, he or she will likely order detergent from Amazon--and Amazon alone--going forward.
The question is whether consumers are actually interested in hanging that button on their wall, and in paying $5 for the privilege.
When asked how the initial invite program performed, Amazon spokesperson Michelle Taylerson declined to disclose specific results but said there was an "overwhelmingly positive customer response."
But what happens when consumers don't get a Dash Button for free, and rather have to pay $5 for each individual one? Is it really that hard to open a phone and find the product on the Amazon app? Or to tell an Amazon Echo to make the order? Or to set up a recurring order through Amazon's Subscribe & Save program?
"The Dash Button was to make it convenient for people to order more of a particular item without having to take out their cell phone or laptop," said Gartner analyst Gene Alvarez. "When you add the cost versus it being part of a free mobile app, now all the sudden they've introduced an inhibitor of growth for themselves. I'm of the opinion that consumers are not going to pay $5 for the right to buy an individual item by pushing a button in an economy where people are so price sensitive."