Daily Bulletin


The Conversation

  • Written by The Conversation

imageThe rhythm of life interrupted

Amazon’s announcement for their new vision of shopping, the Dash Button, was so bizarre, that people thought it was an early April Fool’s joke. The premise is simple. Push a button on a small gadget labelled “Tide” (a US washing powder), conveniently stuck to your washing machine, and Amazon will automatically order and send boxes of Tide to your house.

imageDash Buttons

Given Amazon’s history in this area, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that the Dash Button was for real. It follows on from the largely unnoticed Dash barcode reader that allows the shopper to take an inventory of their household goods to re-order them from Amazon. It also succeeds the unsuccessful “fire” smartphone one of whose main features (Firefly) was being able to point the phone at objects, have them recognised, and order that object automatically from Amazon.

And then there was “Echo”, the voice activated home automation product that ostensibly does all sorts of useful things, but mainly allows you to buy things from Amazon.

Family life with Echo

Eventually of course, these individual packages that are ordered through phones, buttons or other devices, will be delivered by a personal “drone” as part of the Amazon Prime Air service.

Amazon’s shopping vision of the future has so far been met with everything from indifference to outright disdain. Sales of the Fire phone have been very poor and this has presumably prompted Amazon to release new technology like the Echo and Dash Button on an invitation only basis. Even so, the devices signifies where Amazon is hoping to push consumers to meet its ever growing need of keeping them shopping with Amazon for everything they need. In particular, it is driving its business to grow its membership of Amazon Prime. This service already accounts for 50% of Amazon’s sales, luring users with free shipping and other perks like unlimited access to books, TV and movies.

The problem Amazon faces however is that they view their consumers in a way that is epitomised by their promotional video for the Dash Button.

The rhythm of life

In the video, the mother is shown using the same (heavily) packaged products repetitively and unthinkingly. It is like watching the on earth, domestic equivalent, of astronauts eating space food. The family eats packets of processed macaroni cheese, drinks bottled water and uses individually packaged coffee pods. “Don’t let running out ruin your rhythm” the video proclaims as the mother’s frustration at running out of coffee pods is reversed on delivery of a packing box containing more pods from Amazon.

It is hard to imagine the average household having Dash Buttons stuck to every surface in the house, indeed, covering the fridge. Consumers also do not normally limite themselves to just one specific product in a given category, with price promotions being a heavy factor in what they buy. The Dash Button concept also ignores the fact that most grocery shopping, in the US at least, is so-called “occasion” shopping, with only 23% being for re-stocking items. There is also the fact that in other countries, like Australia, people actually like to shop, and do so at least twice a week on average.

It is also hard to see how Amazon makes the delivery of individual items like a replacement box of washing powder, economically viable or environmentally sustainable. Given that there is already a problem with the quantity of packaging resulting from online shopping, services like Amazon’s Dash Button, if it became popular, would quickly escalate the problem.

Then of course there is the privacy issue. Although the Dash Button is less insidious than the Echo which potentially listens to every conversation in a house waiting for a command, it still has the potential to reveal more information about individuals than people suspect. This is because it is designed to be actioned when there is a perceived need, which is most likely to happen when things are actually being used. At the very least, this information could then be used to target users with specific ads.

Amazon’s forays into testing the future of shopping may be limited experiments and may never get rolled out to the general public, or even be successful if they are. They do point however to a company that is increasingly unable to convert its massive enterprise into one that consistently makes profits. It is hard to see Amazon’s currently strange vision of the future of online shopping doing that for them.

Authors: The Conversation

Read more http://theconversation.com/amazons-dashing-vision-of-the-future-of-shopping-think-fast-think-less-buy-more-39757

Writers Wanted

Heading back to the playground? 10 tips to keep your family and others COVID-safe

arrow_forward

Qatar expresses 'regrets' for 'any distress' to women invasively searched in baby incident

arrow_forward

Education & More – Family Tips on How to Settle in Bangkok

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Prime Minister Interview with Kieran Gilbert, Sky News

KIERAN GILBERT: Kieran Gilbert here with you and the Prime Minister joins me. Prime Minister, thanks so much for your time.  PRIME MINISTER: G'day Kieran.  GILBERT: An assumption a vaccine is ...

Daily Bulletin - avatar Daily Bulletin

Did BLM Really Change the US Police Work?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has proven that the power of the state rests in the hands of the people it governs. Following the death of 46-year-old black American George Floyd in a case of ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Scott Morrison: the right man at the right time

Australia is not at war with another nation or ideology in August 2020 but the nation is in conflict. There are serious threats from China and there are many challenges flowing from the pandemic tha...

Greg Rogers - avatar Greg Rogers

Business News

AppDynamics Solves Visibility Gap Between Traditional Infrastructure and Cloud Environments

New Full Stack Observability Platform, Integration With Cisco Intersight Workload Optimizer and Cloud Native Visualisation Features Provide Cross Domain Insights and Analytics of Business Perfor...

Hotwire Global - avatar Hotwire Global

Why Your Small Business Should Bulk Buy Hand Sanitiser

As a small business owner, employee and customer safety is at the very top of your priority list. From risk assessments to health and safety officers, appropriate signage and proper briefing...

News Co - avatar News Co

How Phone Number Search In Sydney Can Help Your Business

To run a successful business, keeping track of your company and competitors are the major factors. With a lot of tools, available businesses have options to stay current. One way in which busine...

News Co - avatar News Co



News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion