retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Bidness reports that Amazon has officially begun selling its Dash Buttons, physical buttons that allow customers to instantly order household items like laundry detergent and baby food -- without touching a computer or smartphone. The company notes that the Dash Button "has an adhesive strip and can be mounted to a washing machine or a kitchen cupboard, or anywhere a customer is likely to notice a certain product is running low. The detergent-deficient user pushes the button, which uses home Wi-Fi networks to alert Amazon to deliver the item, saving the customer a trip to the store -- or even a visit to the Amazon app."

The buttons are now selling for $4.99 apiece.

Bidness writes that "although each button identifies to a specific brand, the user is given control over quantity and what products from each brand should be ordered, whenever the button is pressed. To prevent accidental orders, the company will dispatch only one order at a time, with users receiving email alerts that can cancel new orders ... Amazon has incorporated 18 brands into Dash Buttons so far, including Bounty paper towel rolls, smart water bottles, Glad bags, and Gerber baby formula."

• The NY Business Journal reports that "Amazon is on the verge of winning a $30 million contract with the N.Y.C. Department of Education ... once approved, Seattle-based Amazon will engage in a three-year deal to be the official 'storefront' of the department," providing the departments with "a tool for managing and distributing electronic content."

Internet Retailer reports that the number of Amazon Prime subscribers increased from 40 million at the end of 2014 to 44 million in June 2015, " and the renewal rate was 95% during the second quarter, says Consumer Intelligence Research Partners."

The story goes on: "CIRP says Amazon converts 70% of consumers who sign up for a 30-day free trial of Prime into paid members, and it is getting better at getting existing paid members to renew their $99 annual membership. From April to June, 95% of Prime customers whose subscriptions were set to expire renewed their memberships, up from 90% during the prior two periods."
KC's View:
To me, these three stories simply represent the degree to which Amazon is embracing the ecosystem approach to marketing, working to eliminate every possible reason that would prevent the consumer from going to Amazon first.

It's working.