Why it matters to you

For those who favor convenience over bargain hunting, Amazon Dash Buttons are expanding into more and more categories.

The Amazon Dash Button announcement dropped on April Fools’ Day in 2015. More than two years later, the company wants you to know people are using the buttons, no joke. Four buttons get pushed every minute. Today, the company announced five new companies are joining more than 600 brands with buttons of their own: Luvs, Pampers, Bounce, Dreft, and Unstopables. Press the $5 Dash, and Amazon will send you diapers, fabric softener, or laundry detergent in a couple days.

The retailer wants to make the shopping experience “almost invisible,” Dean Seifert, Amazon’s director of Dash and Dash Replenishment Services, told Digital Trends. While he wouldn’t say how many people are using them, he did say that they’ve sold millions of products. “We’ve sold more than 900 tons of laundry detergent through the Dash program since its inception, the equivalent of eight blue whales,” he said. During the recent Prime Day madness, Dash Button orders were up 70 percent over last year, with hundreds of thousands of orders. People chose buttons you’d mostly expect, ones that let them buy items they use over and over again: Tide, Bounty, Cascade, and Charmin. Customers keep coming back to Amazon, even if it means missing out on a sale at their local grocery store.

People are using them a bit like vending machines. Press the button, get your reward. That can lead to a lot of packaging piling up, though Amazon said it tries to bundle where it can.

It’s not just the buttons, though. Amazon lets developers use its Dash Replenishment API to create washing machines that automatically reorder you detergent when you’re running low — without having to press a button stuck to the side of your appliance. There’s an Illy Dash Button, but the manufacturer is also working on a coffee maker that will buy you coffee beans (Illy brand, naturally) when you’re nearly out.

When we asked if Amazon will one day incorporate perishable goods with Dash — with delivery from Amazon Fresh — Seifert said he couldn’t talk about upcoming plans but said, “Our goal is to try and drive this convenience in every case that makes sense for customers.” If the retailer had a big enough customer base, enough sellers, and figured out the logistical challenges, then maybe one day you could tap your Borden button when you run out of milk and have it delivered, sort of like a very modern milkman.

Dash has expanded beyond the U.S., and in some ways, the service in other countries is superior. In parts of the U.K., Germany, and Japan, Prime users have beer buttons. Will you ever be able to get on-demand delivery of your favorite brew in the U.S.? “If it is something that we think would do well in the U.S., then we’ll go ahead and look at the research and do the due diligence to figure out if it is something we can bring to the U.S.,” said Seifert.

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