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Amazon's instant-order Dash buttons arrive in the UK

Engadget Engadget 31/08/2016 Nick Summers
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It's hard to keep up with Amazon's multi-pronged attack on British supermarkets. Prime Now, Pantry and Fresh -- all of these services are starting to blend together into a giant forgettable mush. Luckily, there are now Dash buttons, a refreshingly simple product that's been available in the US since March 2015. With its UK debut, Prime customers can press a tiny clicker in their home to instantly order new toilet paper, washing up liquid and other household supplies. It's supposed to negate your weekly shopping list, while ensuring you never run out of the essentials.

Amazon's tiny Dash buttons are brand-specific and require a little bit of setup. Each one needs to be connected to your WiFi network and you'll need to specify the exact product you want to order inside the Amazon app. Once that's done, you'll receive a notification on your phone each time a button is pressed. The alert will include some basic information, such as the price and estimated delivery time, as well as the option to cancel the order. As an extra failsafe against troublesome family members, the button will only fulfil a new order once the previous one has been delivered.

Amazon says roughly 40 brands are on board for the UK launch, including Fairy, Kleenex and Neutrogena. More will be added over time, giving Prime customers greater choice over what products they're buying. Each buttons cost £4.99, but Amazon will eat the cost by giving you £4.99 in free credit. They follow the Dash scanner, a handheld device that lets you order products by shouting for brands and scanning barcodes. Both the scanner and the buttons are optional, but they set Amazon apart from its traditional supermarket competition. Online delivery is all about convenience, and these experiences are designed to accentuate that.

To solidify its 'press once to order' vision, Amazon is offering the Dash button concept to appliance manufacturers. It's called the "Amazon Dash Replenishment Service" and means the same functionality can be baked into home hardware. A coffee machine specialist like Nespreso, for instance, could designate one of its buttons to act as a restock shortcut. So far, only five companies have agreed to support the platform in the UK -- Samsung, Bosch, Siemens, Whirlpool and Grundig. Amazon won't say when we'll see the first products with Dash integrated, but it shouldn't be too long given appliances have already been unveiled for the US market.

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