Amazon Dash: The New Epoch of Consumerism

Amazon Dash

When you buy an Amazon Dash, you buy a specific brand, e.g., you can buy a Tide button or a hundred different other brands.  When you press the button the button automatically places an order for the corresponding brand.  So when you come to the dread and anxiety faced when you realize you are out of some K-cups, you can press the button and the Dash orders more K-Cups by connecting to your smart phone through your home WIFI and places orders in the Amazon app.   This button serves nothing more than a shortcut, by cutting out the tedium of pulling out your smart phone and pressing a few different prompts and digital buttons to order new items.

Amazon has been quiet on if these buttons are subsidized by the brands that adorn their plastic facades, but it makes sense.  Not only do these buttons serve as free advertisement in your home, they also dampen choice.  If you have a dedicated button for Nature Valley, chances are you are not interested in seeking out alternatives.   Brands like this button because they foster customer loyalty.

The mixed news is, this is still largely an experiment.  Analyst suggest that the users most interested in this are prime members who do most of their grocery shopping online, which only amounts to 15 percent of Prime members.   Consumer intelligence suggest there are 54 million Prime members in the US, which means we have around 8 million members that use the grocery service frequently.  We can assume then, that there are less than 8 million Amazon Dash members.   But, marketers and Amazon will be sure to figure out more ways to make us into infantilized consumers, too inept to go to the store or even open a web browser to order bottled water.

 

Amazon Dash Button Tide

 

When the Dash was announced last year, it was just before April 1st, the international day of the internet prankster. Many thought that this was an April Fool’s prank, but alas, it was not.   The Dash market is growing, it currently has a little over a hundred brands to choose from.

The Dash embodies the worst qualities of the modern consumer, it fosters unprecedented laziness, while simultaneously seceding any semblance of consumer control.  While shopping can be a chore, we are endowed with a myriad of digital tools to help organize shopping trips and we can ultimately order things from the confine of our computers.  Second, as I already mentioned, this device basically incentivizes you to double down on a brand.  Everyone hates when the government does no-bid contracts, don’t be an inept bureaucrat and always make sure you consider alternatives.

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Book Review: Buyology

Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy and the New Science of Desire

Martin Lindstrom,Broadway Books 2010, 255 pgs

This book has a lot of hype, no surprise because the author is a brand expert in the marketing industry.  This book itself was subject to a little controversy, Lindstrom gamed the book rankings by using a bulk buying service.  This service artificially bumped his sale ratings. After reading that, I was even more happy that I bought this book used.

This book is premised on a large neuro study that Lindstrom had a part in: scanning, victims, err, participants brains for activity when exposed to different types of advertisements and marketing.  This book explains the results of this, the implications and looks at standard marketing cliches; product placement, sex-sells, etc.

Lindstrom does a decent job. I found it telling that throughout the book Lindstrom has to constantly remind us that he is on our side.    But Lindstrom is a ‘brand marketer’, and his business depends on our willingness to part with money to buy things.

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