There was endless pontification about Amazon Dash when it launched. The service, which lets consumers re-order products with the tap of a single-purpose button, was hailed as the potential future of shopping as well as the end of civilization, often within the same article.
But now questions are being raised about how well the harbinger of our Internet of Things future is actually doing.
According to Slice Intelligence, fewer than half of the people who bought the $5 buttons have actually used them since their purchase. And that's a really bad deal for the manufacturers who signed up to help pilot the program, who pay $15 every time one of the devices is purchased, plus an additional 15% commission to Amazon over its usual purchase fees of 8% to 15%.
Early participants reportedly paid a $200,000 buy-in fee up front, according to the Wall Street Journal, although that fee has now been dropped as Amazon seeks to expand the range of available buttons.
Part of the backlash, the journal reports, is that the simplicity of the buttons means that they just don't provide enough information for those considering pushing them. One example: Gatorade. One consumer who had stocked up on dash buttons said that, after the price of the sports drink jumped from $9 to $22 in the time between orders, she just wasn't comfortable with the semi-automated ordering anymore. Sometimes a little more data can go a long way.