What Amazon’s New Dash Button Means To CPG Manufacturers And Marketers

By | Tuesday April 21st, 2015

amazonHave you heard about Amazon’s new Dash Button? Some Amazon Prime subscribers are now being invited to try Dash, a small plastic button that can be placed “right where you need it,” on a washing machine, fridge or wherever. All it takes is just a single tap of the Dash Button and—viola!—users can reorder certain items, like laundry detergent, trash bags and paper towels.

I’m intrigued by what Dash offers. For instance, for CPG manufacturers, the Dash button provides:

  • A direct connection to individual buyers. That means Dash bypasses the “middle man”— and ingeniously, it puts customers in control.
  • Valuable data to inform the supply chain. The Dash Button can help brands capture sales data, track deliveries, etc.
  • Entry into the growing Internet of Things (IoT). As I’ve said before, the IoT is rich with opportunities for brands that can successfully blend technology, people and things in ways that enhance the experience for today’s “Connected Customer.” Dash is part of the emerging—and incredibly exciting—IoT movement.
  • A reason to stoke the debate about drones. Amazon has plans to use drones to deliver books and other small items to people’s home, but the company says U.S. regulatory hurdles are slowing progress. If Dash is a hit, and consumers routinely connect instantaneously with Amazon/warehouses, will the demand for “instant” delivery-by-drone increase, as well?

For marketers, the Dash Button is a powerful example of:

  • A customer-centric approach. Dash is relevant, easy-to-use and smart. (Even if a kid pushes the button 1,000 times “for fun,” the customer will only receive orders that have been approved.) It’s a compelling reminder about the importance of putting the customer at the center of all you do.
  • Real-time relevance. Consumers want convenient, meaningful solutions that meet their needs now. Dash appears to do all that… and more. It takes real time marketing to a whole new level. Of course, to be successful, marketers will have to remain ever mindful of…
  • The delicate balance between “useful” and “creepy.” The Dash Button is super-convenient, and it’s individualized. But as we all know, when individualized, data driven marketing is taken too far, it runs the risk of being creepy. Remember: Your governance infrastructure needs to be grounded on awareness and restraint. Dash and other emerging elements of the IoT are leading us into unchartered territory. No one is sure how customers will respond to this kind of unprecedented access to their preferences and behaviors. You need to listen to your customers. They’ll tell you what’s working—and what isn’t.
  • The rising importance of loyalty. Loyalty no longer needs to rely on external programs. Instead, it should be part of a larger, comprehensive integrated marketing approach. Devices like Dash (and wearables like Apple Watch) underscore the need for trust—trust between consumers and the companies they are sharing data with. Companies will be rewarded if they build smart interactions that empower the consumer to connect, while minimizing the inconvenience and effort required to transact, communicate or enjoy products, services and brands.

That’s how I see it. But what do you think? Is Dash a fad, Amazon’s smartest product launch yet, or something in-between? Will consumers welcome these buttons throughout their homes—and if they do, how will they impact your marketing initiatives?