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05 Sep 2016

Amazon Dash, the Internet of Things and why you should care


More than a year after it launched the service in the US, Amazon has unleashed Dash on the UK.  Amazon’s Dash Buttons allow Prime subscribers to order branded consumables with a single click.

They have combined this with the Dash Stick, which allows Amazon Fresh customers to order food by calling out ingredients, or by scanning a barcode.

And the final Dash element, for the time being, is Amazon’s Replenishment service, which goes one step beyond the button and allows devices that are already connected to the Internet to automatically re-order consumables before they run out.  For example, printer ink and toner.

From our perspective, Amazon’s Dash range of services will take off and here’s why:

  • Amazon Prime – whilst it’s notoriously difficult to get specific numbers from Amazon with regards to their Prime service, it is clearly growing and will continue to do so. 2015 saw Amazon increase their number of Prime Subscribers by 35% worldwide.  Whilst the annual payment demanded for the service is significant, the range of services and benefits that consumers gain do offer value for money.  Essential Retail’s Caroline Baldwin reviewed her first year using Prime and the article is a good example of why Amazon and their customers are benefiting.
  • Convenience – whilst you’ll need to hook the device into your Amazon App and your wireless network, once the button’s up and running, push it once and you’re away. No need to log onto Amazon, or the App, just one click and the item you need will be with you tomorrow.
  • Free Gadgets – whilst Amazon charge £4.99 in the UK for each button, they give you that back as a credit against your first purchase(s).
  • No longer let your other half down – we’ve all got back from the shops and had the question ‘did you remember…?’, followed by frustration and annoyance. And possibly another trip out.  Dash will remove that issue for these kind of items.

We can see that all of these services are good for the consumer and potentially good for the brands that Amazon take on for the programme.  And, obviously, we can see how these are great for Amazon themselves.  However, what – if any – impact will these have on retailers in general?

The first opportunity we see comes on price.  This isn’t necessarily somewhere that every business will want to go.  However, Amazon Dash sources the products that their Prime customers request at the lowest possible price at the time – from companies already within the Amazon FbA programme.  Making sure that you’re going to get the order ahead of your competition will increase sales.  IN the short term, with this only impacting branded goods, it won’t be a big deal.  But the Dash Stick opens up a much wider market for this service and, therefore, more opportunities.

Taking this forward a step or five, it’s going to be possible for retailers to tag and / or build tags, buttons and the like into their own products.

This may not help in the same way as the Dash button, but instead of someone seeing an item and thinking, that’s nice, I’ll look that up later, they would be able to interact with it via their phone or wearable device and you could have complete control of who they order it from, what you charge etc.. The entire customer experience, from thought through to purchase, could be managed.

Where a retailer works with a lot of repeat buyers, either trade or retail, building your own reorder buttons that customers could configure would be possible and are a logical extension of the self-service approach that more and more B2B companies are taking.

Once you start thinking about repeat purchases you can see how sensors in warehouse locations, or on shelves in stores could be linked to back office systems to replenish and / or re-order stock as soon as it leaves a location, rather than waiting for stock figures to update after a movement / sale.

And we’re not even touching the surface.

The possibilities for IoT (the Internet of Things) and its impact on retail, and the rest of the world, are endless.

That can be a challenge, just as when, for example, President Kennedy announced that the USA would be landing on the moon.  In 1962, when the pronouncement was made, NASA had no idea how they would turn that into reality. By 1969 the US had planted their flag and were onto the next thing.

The possibilities for Khaos Control, thanks to our modern and flexible development environment, include:

  • Connecting applications to gadgets, sensors, devices, and services hosted in the cloud.
  • Easily connecting existing installed applications to wearable technology and gadgets.
  • Providing a consistent User Experience across a range of devices and gadgets. In the future, Khaos Control users won’t just be limited to a device running a browser.  They will be able to fully integrate with IoT.  Whilst there are obvious immediate applications for connected apps in retail, especially at Point of Sale, the applications going forward will be limitless.

We’re really excited to see a company like Amazon stretching the boundaries and we can’t wait to see how Khaos Control and our customers take advantage of IoT in the coming months, years and decades.


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