Or from your point of view, that's a lot of effort for a product that you already know you want. If you're busy doing laundry, you want to keep doing that, rather than stop and order detergent, or risk forgetting it in the next five minutes (and then not having it the next time). The price is somewhat variable, but the variation is likely below your threshold of caring.
These aren't huge costs, but it's very much web-UX thinking: people have very short memories (and attention spans) and even a single extra click is an opportunity for people to change their minds or get distracted. If your washing machine came with an infinite supply of detergent, or your cat food canister were infinitely deep, your life would be a tiny bit better. If they knew the cost were comparable to other sources, many people would take that deal without worrying too much about whether the exact price.
That's Amazon's schtick. They make your life a tiny bit better and take a tiny profit on that. It works only if they can get that tiny profit on basically everything you buy. Everything everyone buys.
They've since discovered other ways. As you say, you know the rate at which these things get used up, so it's even better for them to just replace the button with a recurring order.
You don't know if the toilet paper is going to arrive the same day, next day, 2 days, or 2 business days. Many times if you know beforehand it's going to take 2 days to get toilet paper you'd just run to the grocery store instead.
Not just toilet paper -- even with shampoo, body wash, kitchen soap, laundry detergent, kitchen sponges, I'm usually unaware I'm running out until it actually runs out, and with most of these things I can't wait 2 days. I also live 2 blocks from a 24-hour Safeway so it's not actually an issue.
It's the firstest of first-world problems, and I sure as heck don't see putting a "shampoo" button in the shower. But it kinda doesn't surprise me that at least some people wanted them.
though to be fair, I am (was?) too depressed to even set up the dash buttons
Wouldn't a smartphone app that has a repeat-purchase item dashboard allowing 1-click orders for them cover most of those "issues"?
That's pretty much (not the exact feature set, but close enough) what Amazon cited in cancelling it, so...yes?
(1) Many of the items aren't consumable items. On my page, there is a wall clock, a power strip, and an instant pot.
(2) The ordering of the items appears to be based mostly on what I bought recently rather than what I'm likely to buy over and over again consistently. (Or likely to need right now.) It could allow me to choose, but it doesn't. It could choose for me intelligently, but it isn't doing that because #2 on the list for me is a year's supply of allergy pills that I bought 3 months ago.
(3) There isn't a streamlined purchase process. The buttons just add them to my cart. (Though this could have something to do with my not having enabled one click ordering on my account.)
Turns out it's also possible to intentionally navigate to it: app menu (top left "hamburger" icon) -> "See All Programs" (under "Programs and Features" group in menu) -> "Your Dash Buttons". And the UI looks just like dash buttons. With buttons that say "Buy now" rather than adding to cart.
It'd be great to have the ability to somehow pin it in a more prominent / convenient location if I were seriously planning to use it.
I say half surprised. They’re probably avoiding Apple’s 30% cut or something
You can use Google Pay (note no "l" in second word) for physical goods, although I think you can collect your own payments if you prefer.
Related: A hardware "Dash" button made more sense in a time when mobile smart devices were not ubiquitous. The recommended items I see are really strange, often items that are "one-offs" which I might only buy once every ten years are recommended. This to me is a serious problem with their algorithm.
Dash buttons were introduced in 2015, which was hardly the pre-ubiquitous-smart-device dark ages.
It’s more fun to press the red bull button than to say “computer, order more Red Bull.”
I didn’t really use them that much because amazon’s prices got a lot worse so I ordered my Red Bull and batteries from other places.
I hope I can repurpose them for other iot signals.
I bought one for that - it's authenticated on my wifi but doesn't know what to order on Amazon. Pushing the button will make it visible on the network but do nothing else. So I wrote some scripts to run when it associates on the network, works pretty well.
In some countries selling something without showing the price at the time of purchase is not entirely legal.
So it was a funny situation where I had to get my phone out anyway.
That being said, it's very easy to just default to Amazon and not bother looking elsewhere.
In the US, quite frequently the same product is sold in different packaging, and the best price often varies between the packaging. Sometimes the 20-pack of toilet paper is cheapest. Sometimes the 30-pack is cheapest.
Besides, on the mobile app, it doesn't take that long to figure out the best deal.
Push a button for pistachios, and a pound bag shows up for $8.99.
Push the same button two weeks later, and get charged $17.99.
I liked the idea, though. It would have been good if it had been incorporated into the whole Whole Foods thing.
Also more users probably would become aware of price variance (as you have) and changed their shopping habits, which is not good for business.
If Amazon isn't able to offer any level of price stability, then don't offer the subscription. Toilet paper is convenient to get on a subscription basis, but that convenience isn't worth paying $5/roll.
They will lose some money but they'd also gain money from people afraid to drop subscriptions (e.g. gym subscription model).
In college, on finals week I'd get $100-200 cash and go to the bookstore. I'd hear they were buying back certain popular textbooks for next to nothing. I'd offer the seller $10 cash right there on the spot. "Sell to them or sell to me, it's the same price. Here's a $10 bill."
After getting a stack of those (or when profs were cleaning out their bookshelves), I'd lug them home, scan with my CueCat and sell them for a substantial markup on half.com (RIP).
One semester I found a stack of books outside faculty offices labeled "free" - sold those for $500 that weekend.
There is also this thing, the Amazon wand:
The AWS IoT Enterprise Button is for the AWS IoT 1-Click service ("Trigger AWS Lambda functions from simple devices"): https://aws.amazon.com/iot-1-click/
Notice how the Enterprise button listing (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075FPHHGG) says "This is not the AWS IoT Developer Button" with a link to the other button.
The new ones are strictly worse, only able to be bound to a Lambda
Better support though.
HW people on HN, is this impossible at scale?
Was the original/intended purpose to always sell them at cost and make the profits up through increased sales?
I think in Amazon's case it was just experimentation with a sunk cost. Based on the discussion above it looks like it's impossible to form a company to sell these to turn a profit, at least in the dash button form.
negative profit when you count assembly.
I'm sure Amazon would rather you just ask Alexa to order things for you now anyway.
I wonder what today's equivalent is?
Send me 12 rolls of kitchen roll, every 3 months, a bag of cat food every month, etc..
1) High ergonomics barrier; the user needed to install a QR app from the appstore or find the icon for it and start it.
2) People who are not on HN don't know what it is anyway.
Now that it's built in to most Android/iPhone cameras, #1 is solved. Now that #1 is solved, #2 is self-solving.
QR gets a lot of jank but when I use it, it's very handy.
Does Amazon even have any good apps? Seems like easy subscription management and re-ordering is something they could do there.
I actually really liked the dash buttons for those items that I did not use as regularly, but the number of items like that are pretty low to warrant having more than 2 or 3 of these things.
Then when I rebuilt my wireless network I just did not care to move them over.
When I rebuilt my wireless network, every smarthome device has to be modified and that was the worst part about it.
At least these were basically free anyways (you bought them for $5 and then got a $5 credit on your first purchase with them) so I did not feel a need to switch them over.
How much work would it honestly be for them just to keep the existing ones going.
All you have to do is get two containers, one open and one backup. When you use up the first buy another one the next time you go grocery shopping.
That's exactly why this is useful. It's something I forget to buy at the store because I run out so rarely. Right now while I'm doing my laundry if I notice I'm below about a third I'll hit the button.
Before I'd almost always realize I was out of detergent mid-washing, undoubtedly the night before some important meeting, and have to run to the store in the middle of the night.
Leave the empty bottle by the doorway or in your car or something until you remember.
Edit: Read rest of article and have my answer. Sorry! Don’t spank me.
If I pressed one and <1h delivery would happen it would be great.
But we aren't there yet.
The only thing I ever buy without knowing the cost is a drink in a pub, and that's some sort of strange anachronism.
And in that situation, if the bartender turns around and tells me 25 quid or whatever after pouring it, I'd just walk off.
The economy doesn't work properly if you just blindly pay whatever.
Also, according to their documentation, pressing the button queues the order and sends you an email, which includes price information. You can cancel the order before it ships. I'd expect that the normal flow for most people is to press the button when they notice they are running out of something, and then check the order details when they next deal with email.
I rarely buy small household items at full price, just wait until my brands go on sale or I have a coupon to buy several. They go on sale often enough that I almost always have items in the house. I probably have a five year supply of razors at my house, they take up basically no room. If I need something right away I'll put it on the grocery list and pick it up next time I go to the grocery store.
On top of that I don't really believe in shipping my household products to me one by one, seems very wasteful and inefficient. Plus you'd either need to pay extra for shipping every item you need or buy a prime subscription on top of that.
Amazon pricing is all over the place, not like the normal variation of other stores. You could easily be paying double or even triple since the last time you bought.
And in some cases you won't like the change.
I have noticed on other "platforms" (I don't use Amazon, so it may be different on it) that vendors must be using some (evidently crappy) software to "re-align" their prices automatically to market/competitors/whatever and this makes from time to time some egregious mistake.
Recent anecdata, a couple weeks ago I bookmarked a plastic bench that I might have been interested in buying but had no "urgent" need for, I found a vendor selling it for 148.50 Euro (there were a number of other ones selling the same article ranging from 150 to 170 Euro).
Last week I accessed the bookmark and found that the price was now 1,148.50 Euro (and I just checked, it is still at that).
But I have seen it happen several times.
Not that anyone would have a dash button for that, but I suspect that the same can happen for common, ordinary house supplies.
Cool project though.