Back in 2015, Amazon rolled out its innovative Dash Buttons — which were little oval electronic devices you could stick somewhere and re-order a specified amount of product by pressing its button. It was geared for Amazon Prime members to let them rapidly re-order home supplies like laundry detergent, coffee, juice, and cleaning items.
Amazon discontinued its Dash Buttons this past February after a German court ruled that they violate the country’s consumer protection laws, in that their press-to-buy mechanism fails to provide enough information about a product’s price. Existing Dash buttons will continue to operate, however.
While the Button version is no more, the dash is far from dead. Last week, Amazon launched a similar concept offering — the Amazon dash smart shelf, a wi-fi connected smart scale aimed for keeping small business supplies in stock. The concept is essentially the same as the button.
At one inch tall and available in 7 by 7-inch, 12 by 10-inch and 18 by 13-inch sizes, the electronic shelf can be placed on any surface you’d keep supplies on. You power it on with its plug or with batteries, connect it to Wi-Fi, and use your Amazon Business account or the Amazon mobile app to determine which item you’ll use it for — such as printer paper, coffee products, cleaners or post-it notes. The shelf then senses the weight of the items and determines when you’re running low.
Connecting through Amazon’s shopping services, you can either have the shelf automatically reorder that product to arrive on time, or provide you with low inventory notifications so you can re-order it yourself. Amazon says the shelf is designed to avoid accidental automatic reorders if items are temporarily removed.
Branded as “The scale that keeps businesses stocked,” the dash smart shelf is currently being tested with selected partners this month. It will be available to Amazon Business Customers who have a registered US business license starting in 2020. No consumer plans have been announced so far.
Amazon is currently offering businesses using the dash smart shelf a discount of up to 15 percent on certain items like Keurig and Folgers coffee, Kind snack bars, Hammermill paper, and products from 3M and Kimberly Clark Professional.