First, Amazon announced physical “Dash” buttons to make it easy for consumers to re-order their favorite products. Then it launched virtual versions of the product to embed on the Amazon website and mobile app, providing one-click re-purchase power for items you recently ordered. Now, Amazon has revealed the next phase in its plan to corner the ecommerce world with programmable buying buttons.
The company has announced the Virtual Dash Button Service (VDBS), which is effectively a software development kit (SDK) for third-party device makers to offer virtual dash buttons on their own connected, screened devices.
This is actually related to another of Amazon’s automated offerings. Back in 2015, when it first announced its physical dash buttons, Amazon also unveiled the Dash replenishment service — it was a way for device manufacturers to integrate automated reordering technology into their products. For example, a printer maker could set things up so that it would automatically beckon new ink for your printer when it runs low, or a washing machine maker could request new detergent.
However, the dash replenishment service worked on devices without a screen, whereas the the new virtual dash button service is aimed at screened devices. This opens things up to manual reordering, meaning any device maker that wants to integrate directly with Amazon’s one-click ordering system, can do so.
For manufacturers such as Whirlpool, LG, and Samsung who Amazon said are already using VDBS, it removes the friction from the product ordering process while giving consumers more control. And for Amazon, it gives them further reach into the smart home. For example, Samsung’s connected fridges could integrate with Amazon’s virtual Dash buttons to make it easier for consumers to reorder groceries or coffee.
“We’ve all felt the frustration of realizing we’re out of something we frequently use, so it’s no surprise customers are loving the convenience of Dash replenishment, which makes shopping for everyday consumables completely disappear,” noted Amazon’s VP of smart home Daniel Rausch, in a press release. “Dash replenishment takes advantage of smart, connected products, enabling a device to track supply usage so a customer never runs out of what they need.”
The virtual Dash button service is open to “device makers of all sizes,” but for now you will have to apply to Amazon by emailing them information on your device and use-case. The SDK will be freely available “in the coming months,” according to Amazon.