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Reuters reports that Amazon Fresh has unveiled a new product that it is testing in the three markets where it is doing business - Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco - that is designed to facilitate the ordering of groceries.

The item, dubbed "Amazon Dash," is described as "a black-and-white hand-held wand-shaped remote-control features a microphone, speaker as well as a bar-code reader and links directly to the user's AmazonFresh account."

Bloomberg Businessweek writes that customers can use the Dash "to add items to a shopping list by scanning barcodes or speaking the name of the product, in the e-commerce company’s latest push into consumer hardware. Users can push a microphone button on the device, called the Dash, and say 'chocolate chips' or 'guitar strings' to have an item in Amazon’s online store automatically added to their shopping carts, according to a new page on the company’s website. People can also press a button to scan barcodes on jugs of milk or bottles of liquid soap when they’re about to run out of the product."

The Amazon Dash wand is currently being offered to Amazon Fresh customers for free, but only by invitation only.

The development of Amazon Dash is seen as important in two ways, Reuters writes. First, it points to the attention that Amazon Fresh is getting from the online retailer, which is significant not just because it expands its presence in the food category but also because those Fresh trucks could be part of a broader strategy of controlling the shipping and delivery process in many major markets.

Second, the story says, "the online retailer has been steadily expanding towards electronics manufacturing businesses, starting with the Kindle e-reader which was first launched in 2007, and the Fire TV streaming set-top box announced earlier this week, even as it seeks new ways to energize a gradually slowing core retail business."
KC's View:
This sort of technology has been talked about for a long time, and I have no idea of the Amazon Dash will work. But clearly what Amazon has in mind is establishing or furthering the kind of relationship with its shoppers that its Subscribe & Save and Prime programs have always fostered. it is about making the Amazon the first and most responsive option.