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The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that Amazon "is doubling down on its Dash push-button ordering devices, getting consumer-products makers to invest in the gadgets even amid evidence that consumers are cool to them. The internet giant this week plans to announce it is adding dozens of new brands to its Dash buttons feature."

The Dash buttons are designed to be placed in convenient appropriate places - like on a washing machine or baby changing table - so that consumers can easily reorder items like laundry detergent or diapers when the need arises. The buttons cost $5 apiece for consumers, though Amazon rebates the $5 the first time an order is placed using them; they are only available to Prime members. The Journal reports that "Companies pay Amazon $15 for each button sold and 15% of each Dash product sale, atop the normal commission, which typically ranges from 8% to 15%, the people familiar with the matter said." The story also says that Amazon has dropped "a hefty buy-in fee of around $200,000 required of the first companies that signed up," presumably to generate greater participation.

"“It may not be the most intuitive feature,” says Ken McFarland, director of e-commerce for Seventh Generation. “But Amazon is trying so many things and you don’t want to miss out on the ones that work. You want to be out there if it does happen to be a hit.” The Journal writes that "several consumer-product executives said they have signed up for the gadget largely to ensure their brands maintain close ties to Amazon. The venture is more vital as a marketing tool than a product-delivery system, they said."

The Dash buttons also are getting competition. MNB on Friday took note of a Tech Crunch report that Tel-Aviv-based Kwik has designed a new product that it believes that compete effectively with the Amazon Dash buttons.
KC's View:
The Journal story makes the point that some research suggests that "fewer than half of people who bought a Dash button since March 2015 have used it to place an actual order," and that use seems to depend on the type of product involved. on the other side, I've seen research showing that people who use the buttons are enormously brand-loyal, and Amazon-loyal.

McFarland has it right. You have to spread your bets around the table, because you never know which one will click ... and because by being part of the Amazon ecosystem, you avoid being locked out of all the different things they are doing.