US retail giant Amazon has launched its instant purchase buttons in Germany, seeking to edge out traditional supermarkets from the household goods market and capitalizing on Germans too lazy or forgetful to shop.
From Wednesday, German Amazon Prime customers will be able to order supplies of products such as toilet paper, dishwasher tablets, dog food and coffee at the touch of the WiFi-connected Amazon Dash button.
Each wireless button is dedicated to a single product with the brand's logo emblazoned on it and will cost customers 4.99 euros ($5.55) apiece. But they come with a credit of the same amount for the customer's first order.
The director of Amazon Dash, Daniel Rausch, noted that there was "no retail therapy' in buying household goods but "just work."
"We wanted to take the one-click experience from our website and put it right where people need it most, in the home, near the products that run out," he said.
Amazon said there were "dozens" of brands initially available through the service in Germany, covering a range of products such as diapers, toilet paper, washing powder and beverages.
The company also said that more than 150 brands had joined the scheme in the United States - up from about 20 at the launch in March 2015.
Attack on supermarkets
Although Amazon gave no data on sales numbers, it said there had been a three-fold increase in US customer orders through the devices in the past two months alone.
The buttons use Amazon's smartphone app for Android and iOS devices, connecting to them via Bluetooth. When pressed, they connect to your home Wi-Fi network to place the order. The account holder is notified of the order and can change the quantity or cancel it. Subsequent presses will be ignored until the item is delivered, preventing duplicates.
Amazon's Dash buttons are part of its attempt to lock customers into its Prime subscription service, and edge out traditional supermarkets from the household goods market.
Upon the launch in Europe, which included Britain and other countries alongside Germany, Rausch said that customers were "often left wondering what the utility of the Internet of Things (IoT) was."
Meanwhile, Dash buttons have caught the imagination of producers in Germany, which have urged Amazon to expand the service to Europe. It is also said that appliance makers Bosch, Siemens, Bauknecht and Samsung are already planning to integrate Dash replenishment into their gadgets.
uhe/cjc (AFP, dpa)