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Life With the Dash Button: Good Design For Amazon, Bad For Everyone Else 259

vivaoporto writes: A scathing review published on Fast Company describes Amazon's Dash Button, the "Buy Now" button brought into the physical world as "the latest symptom of Amazon's slowly spreading disease", "an unabashed attempt to disconnect customers from the amount of money we're spending." The author's criticism centers on Amazon's lack of focus on customer experience, a core UI that doesn't make sense, limited and expensive product selection and a store UX "no longer designed for your convenient shopping", but rather "designed for their profitable selling."
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Life With the Dash Button: Good Design For Amazon, Bad For Everyone Else

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 25, 2015 @09:20AM (#50387593)

    Minimum viable product, maximum revenue extraction.

    Or did you think the evolution of subscriptions and microtransactions was to benefit you, the customer?

    • by NostalgiaForInfinity ( 4001831 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2015 @09:44AM (#50387831)

      Minimum viable product, maximum revenue extraction.

      If you don't like the product, don't buy it or use it.

      Or did you think the evolution of subscriptions and microtransactions was to benefit you, the customer?

      Oddly enough, yes. Successful businesses are motivated by maximizing their profit. But they succeed at this only if people actually choose to buy their products because they benefit. The fact that the business is primarily motivated by its own profits is not a problem, because in a free market, the only way to increase those profits is when people choose to buy their products and actually hand them their money.

      It's not zero-sum game, it's a positive sum game: both buyers and sellers benefit, each in their own way.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You say this like you believe it, so I'll ask you this:

        If you "don't buy it or use it" but the practice influences other companies into using the same practices, does your puny market influence even matter?

      • by ExekielS ( 4130459 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2015 @10:22AM (#50388151)
        We have studies that show there is no market competition with fewer than 5 choices holding more than 70% of market share. Freedom and choices are a lot more limited than you are imagining, both theoretically and practically. Which is why consumer survey's showed that 85% of consumers preferred low gloss/matte screens but over 95% of screens made were high gloss, a problem that has existed for MUCH too long.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Which is why consumer survey's showed that 85% of consumers preferred low gloss/matte screens but over 95% of screens made were high gloss, a problem that has existed for MUCH too long.

          That's one of those problems that is difficult to fix. When you are in the store and compare the gloss screen to the matte screen, the glossy one has much more vibrant colors, so consumers naturally pick that one. It's only when they get to using it in real life that the glare starts to get to them. But at that point it's too late. They've already bought it, thus rewarding the company for producing the glossy screen. They have no way to provide feedback to the company to incentivise them to manufacture matt

          • My guess would be that most consumers don't even realize that it is not normal to have the reflections. They wouldn't even realize that a matte screen discourages reflections on the screen, thereby improving the picture in most lighting situations.

            To most consumers, it is normal to watch movies in a darkened room without any other light sources.

      • That is a point so many people fail to grasp. In a voluntary exchange overall wealth is increased. People exchange something they want less for something they want more. A purchase is not an even exchange of wealth.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I don't think many people actually fail to grasp the basic tenets of 18th-century economics, it's just that it's so obviously a massive oversimplification that maybe people don't quite believe that it's generally true in practice. You do say "voluntary" exchange, but it's not clear how "voluntary" many real-world purchases are. An example is vendor lock-in, where an exchange that was optional in the beginning is structured through technological and legal barriers such that re-purchases are not viably opti

      • "they succeed at this only if people actually choose to buy their products because they benefit."

        If this were true, then economies would work they way Econ profs claim they should. But they don't, therefore it isn't true.

      • This WOULD be true in a world where the demand side had the same amount of transparency as the supply side. Unfortunately that is not the case. The ideal of Capitalism falls short at this very problem: The information level on the supply side is usually vastly superior to that on the demand side. You also usually have a supply oligopoly and a demand polypoly (unless you're dealing with very, very specific situations in which, surprise, surprise, the whole situation changes completely).

        The combination thereo

    • Or did you think the evolution of subscriptions and microtransactions was to benefit you, the customer?

      It HAS to benefit the customer. If it doesn't benefit the customer the customer won't buy it. It might benefit the seller more but customers don't buy anything that doesn't have a value proposition. If the customer buys it then obviously the customer found some amount of benefit in the transaction.

  • by trybywrench ( 584843 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2015 @09:22AM (#50387607)
    The UX of the Dash Button is great, shopping for laundry detergent is boring, just one press and it's over. Managing your personal finances has zero to do with the dash button user experience.
    • by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdotNO@SPAMkeirstead.org> on Tuesday August 25, 2015 @09:27AM (#50387657) Homepage

      I can tell you didn't RTFA.

      The whole point is pushing the button provides no immediate feedback at all. People are used to pushing a button doing something immediately, not pushing a button and *MAYBE* something happens 48 hours from now.

      As such, these buttons are unlikely to gain any kind of popularity.

      • Even without RTFA, the whole premise of the things is stupid. Even children have smartphones now. A smartphone can play the same little game. a QR code that one-clicked you a replacement whatever would be at least as useful.

        • by brunes69 ( 86786 )

          So then, why wouldn't you just order the thing from a cell phone app (Amazon DASH app) in the first place?

          The physical button is stupid.

      • by Notorious G ( 4223193 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2015 @09:50AM (#50387877)
        I not only RTFA, I have several dash buttons now. I get immediate feedback through a notification on my phone which lets me know it was ordered and the estimated arrival (as well as giving me the option to go to the app and cancel if it was a accidental order). I get routine updates as it moves through the delivery process - shipping, updated delivery times if it will be late, delivered. It's handy as hell. Take the last paper towel out of the closet and the button is right there, just a press and new paper towels arrive and I don't have to cart them home.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The button itself provides feedback. You push it, it blinks for a few seconds, then shows a green light if successful and a red light if not.

      • Why not just have a cell phone app. Open the app, see a list of easy to order items, click on the items you want to order and hit send. That's it. Very simple to use, and the user knows that their order went through. You can also alert them of any number of inventory problems. You can also make it work for any item you sell, not just a very small number of products that you think somebody might want to order frequently. If you figure out the frequency with which they order the item based on their account

        • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2015 @10:07AM (#50388011)

          Why not just have a cell phone app.

          Because the best solution to every problem isn't an app. Believe it or not there sometimes are better and more efficient ways to solve a problem.

          Open the app, see a list of easy to order items, click on the items you want to order and hit send. That's it. Very simple to use, and the user knows that their order went through.

          All of which is harder than just pushing a button. You just described a 4 step process than in reality has even more steps. (turn on phone, log in, find app, open app, scroll through list, select item(s), select send). Compare that with pushing a single button on a wall and it is absurdly complicated.

          Look I don't have any use for these Dash buttons myself but I understand what they are trying to do. The less steps someone has to go through the more likely they are to buy. The founder of Coke basically built his business around making sure his product was "within arm's reach of desire" which is why you can easily find a coke product almost anywhere on the globe even in some of the most remote corners. They made buying their product VERY easy. Amazon is trying to do similar things. Maybe the Dash buttons won't work out but the principle of what they are doing makes sense. Sometimes a more general solution isn't the better one.

      • The immediate feedback is the button push and knowledge you ordered the laundry soap. Also, there's no *MAYBE*, the purchase is sent and the soap will arrive later. (Most people don't wait for the empty box to get more soap and so don't need it to materialize on the spot, they put it on a list and get it later. Much the same logic as the button.)

        I think it will catch on somewhat.
    • by njnnja ( 2833511 )

      Exactly. If you want the cheapest price on something, cut coupons and brave the crowds at the local Walmart. The dash button is about convenience. For people who have all the time in the world, then it makes sense to go out to the store whenever you discover you are out of something. For people who only have time on the weekends, it makes sense to make a shopping list and inventory the consumable products in your home and stock up as needed. But if you have other things that you want to do on the weekend, t

    • Well, kinda. The latency is awful.

      I know iUsers think Android users are insane for putting up with such an non-responsive UI because it frequently takes Android a few milliseconds to respond to a touch or swipe.

      I've just upgraded from Win 8.1 to Win 10 on a tablet, and - for whatever reason - I'm seeing the UI switch from more or less an instant response to delays of often a minute or more, depending on the operation.

      But this button takes the take. I need some Imodium(tm) brand anti-diarrheal medicin

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It's not clear you understand the use-case for the button. Mind you, I haven't yet bought into the button myself. But it's clear that this isn't to be used for something you actually need *right now*. It's decidedly NOT for one-off purchases either. Your example of needing medicine is (generally) one of *both* immediacy as well as a relatively one-time purchase; definitely not a good use-case for the button.

        The use-case for the button is *more* like the use-case for Costco. Running low on toilet paper?

        • First of all, I invite you to read this Wikipedia page [wikipedia.org].

          But going onto your debunking of a joke:

          No, Costco is not the use-case for the button. Costco is where you go once a month to buy things cheaply. You don't go to Costco because you're running low on toilet paper. Going to Costco is a planned, methodical, activity that involves making an inventory, determining what will need replacement soon, building a list, viewing the special offers, and then visiting the store.

          The button doesn't give you anything che

          • by Zak3056 ( 69287 )

            Costco is where you go once a month to buy things cheaply. You don't go to Costco because you're running low on toilet paper. Going to Costco is a planned, methodical, activity that involves making an inventory, determining what will need replacement soon, building a list, viewing the special offers, and then visiting the store.

            For you it is. For some people, not so much.

    • by lgw ( 121541 )

      I really don't like the fact TFA uses "but you can get Gillette razors cheaper on Amazon without the button". Bad example! Amazon has a huge problem with gray-market (or maybe just fake) Gillette razors that 3rd party sellers sell at a discount, but they only last about half as long. The reviews are full of complaints and advice on how to find the real product. I had almost given up on buying razors through Amazon, but now it's much easier to find the real ones, even if you don't use the silly Dash but

      • You might be interested in http://jet.com/ [jet.com] . I haven't used it yet (friend just told me about it the other day). But it seems a bit more targeted than Amazon at non-greymarket goods.

        (Note: I don't work for them, or with them or anything... simply heard about it the other day and thought I would pass it on)

      • A better solution is just to give up on buying disposable razors, or at least the fancy ones. Go and get a butterfly razor [wikipedia.org] and then you don't have to buy the silly expensive blades and can get good cheap ones. The other option is to give up on safety razors all together and go and buy a couple nice straight edge razors [wikipedia.org] and learn how to maintain them.
  • This review was brought from the "I love the 00s" section of Slashdot! Great new feature! I hope the next one is a scathing review of the Palm V!

  • by Drewdad ( 1738014 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2015 @09:24AM (#50387621)

    Milk, cheese, and eggs WAAAAAAY at the back. And you have to walk past candy and general merchandise (the high profit stuff).

    • Not my experience. Fresh produce at the front, deli and fresh meat at the back, with the bakery. BWS right at the far end, boring shit in the middle
      • In my experience, there are three main kinds of entry. The old kind, and the new kind, and the even newer kind.

        In the old kind, the first thing through the doors was carts. That's what dominated. In the new kind, the first thing through the doors is some shit and then a choice between food and more shit. For example through one door is a starbucks and through the other door is a rack of seasonal crap. On the other side of those things you find a choice. You can turn towards the perimeter and find food or yo

    • That describes none of the grocers I shop at. Most of them have the cheese up front with the deli. The trend seems to be various cheeses at the deli you can get sliced, and then a separate display of a bunch of other block cheeses you can browse. As I said, they like to locate the deli up front.

      Milk varies. At Safeway it is directly back from the deli. You have deli, liquor, bakery, milk heading back in a straight line. At Sprouts it is at the other corner of the store, as far away from the deli as it could

      • Most of them have the cheese up front with the deli. The trend seems to be various cheeses at the deli you can get sliced, and then a separate display of a bunch of other block cheeses you can browse. As I said, they like to locate the deli up front.

        That's because the cheeses available up front in the deli are much more expensive than the ones at the back in the dairy case.

    • Seriously... designing stores to increase/maximize sales and profits rather than for customer convenience is old, old news. (Not like 1980 old, more like 1890 old.)

    • Yeah, because installing a refrigerated section in the middle of the store, away from the delivery docks is such better design.
    • by rockmuelle ( 575982 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2015 @10:20AM (#50388123)

      Milk and meat are around the periphery because their display cases are connected to (or close to) the bulk cold storage in the stores. It's part of preserving the "cold chain" of ensuring that products that need constant refrigeration throughout the supply chain actually get constant refrigeration.

      Most of the marketing text written about grocery store layouts was developed after the layouts were already in use. Most of the layout quirks are the way they are for more practical and mundane reasons. Layout as a conspiracy makes a great story, but in general, it's just that. Yes, impulse aisles are exceptions as are some other elements in the store, but for the most part, the practicalities of storing and presenting large amounts of food determine the layout.

      -Chris

      • Who cares anyway? Even if it were true, it's not a conspiracy. Grocery store layouts being subtly organized to maximize sales. Gee, what'd you expect? Maximized to minimize profits?
      • by swb ( 14022 )

        I kind of think this is BS. The closest local large grocery store has their cold storage shelves (frozen and refrigerated) along the back and side walls of the entire store. Your argument about practicality would make more sense if all of it was concentrated at the back of the store, but cold storage is like a giant U surrounding the packaged goods in the center of the store. AFAICT there is no rear access to larger bulk cold storage on any of these shelves, and most don't even have easy access to the "b

      • Planet Money covered this one reasonably well.
    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      Supermarkets are full of these kinds of tricks :
      - candies right by the cash register, ready for you to pick up when you are waiting in line
      - goods you will most likely buy arranged in a way to make you "tour" the shop
      - a small selection of high margin related items conviniently sprinkled everywhere. For example, you will find small packs of the most expensive brand of batteries next to toys
      - "on sale" items placed in a way that obstruct passage : make seem like there is a crowd around these

      Basically, nothin

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2015 @09:25AM (#50387625) Homepage
    For the uninitiated, the dash button is an electronic wireless device branded with the logo or namesake of your favourite brand or product. Pushing the button automatically incurs an order for the product and should you be sufficiently removed from the understanding of how this technology works, you'd be inclined to insist its nothing short of magic. It isnt. As a geek, you must understand this technology is a powerful and its opportunities are many. For example:
    1. Reprogramming. What if the tide button closed the garage door? opened the trunk? set off the neighbours sprinklers or fired up the coffee maker? Amazon is offering for a discount the opportunity to break out that sweet oscilloscope and crack away at some assembler. Its a discount wireless device that can actuate a solenoid and pour cottage cheese on the cat at the press of a button
    2. relocation. Place the device in more suitable areas. What if every time your neighbour sat down on the couch they inadvertantly ordered a 12 pack of bleach? how about whenever the dog bolts through the doggie door your inlaws end up ordering a 24 pack of disposable diapers? The potential is endless and the power is great. you control who gets two crates of macaroni and cheese, how often, and even when.
    • 2. relocation. Place the device in more suitable areas. What if every time your neighbour sat down on the couch they inadvertantly ordered a 12 pack of bleach? how about whenever the dog bolts through the doggie door your inlaws end up ordering a 24 pack of disposable diapers? The potential is endless and the power is great. you control who gets two crates of macaroni and cheese, how often, and even when.

      My first thought, when I saw the dash button, was "How long until a parent is charged hundreds of dollar

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        You can only order 1 at a time. In the event of multiple presses, you get a notice and have to confirm that you really intended to buy that many.
  • We like them (Score:5, Informative)

    by turp182 ( 1020263 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2015 @09:25AM (#50387627) Journal

    We have three Dash buttons and last night while my wife was doing laundry my phone informed me that laundry detergent had been ordered via the Dash button.

    We realize they aren't pushing the cheapest priced products, it's the convenience we are looking for (prices are comparable to grocery stores, a bit higher than Wally World, at least for the things we use them for).

    The article goes on and on about instant gratification and the delay between pressing the Dash button and receiving the product. Comes off as whining to me.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      We realize they aren't pushing the cheapest priced products, it's the convenience we are looking for (prices are comparable to grocery stores, a bit higher than Wally World, at least for the things we use them for).

      Well, the problem is it isn't pushing the cheapest price of the product. It just dings you regular price - even if the website has a better deal for you. So if you pay $10 for laundry detergent, and Amazon's website has it on special for $7, you push the button, you're dinged $10, leaving Amazon

      • These are items we would have otherwise bought at the grocery or Wally World. And the prices are comparable for that purposes and I don't have to make a special trip to the store (usually for toilet paper).

        The Dash buttons basically provide continuity of availability without hassle (going shopping). And it's more efficient than the "subscription" model since our usage of some products is variable over time (the day after Thai food sees a spike in TP usage in the house...).

        If the prices are comparable, Ama

  • The other disturbing things about Amazon.
    How when my dad buys something shipping is wayyyyyyyy overpriced but go to my account (one where I have cancelled orders because of overpriced shipping) and it's less than half the cost *same town*, or their bait and switch, or their sending an item entirely different from what was pictured.
    Yeah I know there are resellers, but Amazon fronts them so they get the blame too.

    • Forget what? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2015 @09:56AM (#50387933)

      How when my dad buys something shipping is wayyyyyyyy overpriced but go to my account (one where I have cancelled orders because of overpriced shipping) and it's less than half the cost *same town*

      Perhaps because you buy more from Amazon so they are willing to cut you a better deal. Very little on Amazon has wildly overpriced shipping and the minority of stuff that does have overpriced shipping is obvious and invariably from third party vendors. Most of what I buy is through Prime and has "free" shipping. If you see overpriced shipping don't buy it.

      Of course I've made my living doing ecommerce in the past so I can assure you that most people have NO idea what shipping actually costs. We used to charge exactly the rate UPS charged us and people would complain that we were inflating shipping prices even though we were shipping at cheaper rates than they could get themselves.

      or their bait and switch, or their sending an item entirely different from what was pictured.

      Aside from one or two mistakes where the wrong item got picked I've never seen this happen and I've ordered a LOT of stuff from Amazon. The few mistakes they've made they corrected and sent the correct item or refunded me no questions asked. I've never seen Amazon "bait and switch" anything, ever. If it was a third party vendor not sending what was shown I would just immediately send it back and complain to Amazon. They'll pay the return freight and refund your money.

      Yeah I know there are resellers, but Amazon fronts them so they get the blame too.

      If you buy the thing with the overpriced shipping, the only party to blame is yourself. Buy somewhere else if you don't think you are getting a good deal.

  • "an unabashed attempt to disconnect customers from the amount of money we're spending."

    That would be credit cards, student loans and auto dealers. Amazon isn't the innovator in this space.

  • by trenien ( 974611 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2015 @09:33AM (#50387719)
    The first few comments from IDs numbers between 50387607 and 50387627, all shooting down the review (most with : "let's avoid shopping chores" and one with "it's great for imaginative geeks").

    Yeah, I don't really believe there's anything genuine there...

    • by EvilSS ( 557649 )

      The first few comments from IDs numbers between 50387607 and 50387627, all shooting down the review (most with : "let's avoid shopping chores" and one with "it's great for imaginative geeks").

      Yeah, I don't really believe there's anything genuine there...

      This post sounds like something a Wal-Mart employee would post....

  • "store UX is no longer designed for your convenient shopping", "designed for their profitable selling."

    It's a conspiracy! A conspiracy I tell you! This has never happened before!

  • by mlts ( 1038732 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2015 @09:34AM (#50387727)

    The one thing Amazon could have done which would remedy the current issues with the Dash button is have a color e-Ink display on it, and have it show a picture/logo of what product it is associated with. This way, there is more selection available and opportunities for niche products.

    For example, I have a few Dash buttons myself, all of which will make their home in my RV. That way, instead of writing something to buy on a list, I just hit the buttons, and since they are connected to a Wi-Fi router, they will go out regardless.

    However, the Smart Water is limited to one offering, and other choices are still limited. If Amazon made Dash buttons that had a display on them, they would be a lot more relevent. Otherwise, as Dash buttons stand now, they are pretty much a novelty at best.

  • The product has flaws and limitations, so he's taking it as a personal attack.

    The whole corporate shareholder myth is bullshit [truthonthemarket.com], too.

    I thought Amazon was having trouble keeping up with rush 2-day shipping, so was trying to back it off. They tried building a new warehouse in Seattle, but they couldn't because they ran out of cranes--as in, there are no more cranes in the United States with which Amazon could build a warehouse. They have to wait before they can build new warehouses to satisfy all of this

  • Buttons are satisfying to press because they make things happen. Just watch two kids under the age of 12 fight for the privilege of pushing the elevator.

    "Mommy, why is there a mountain of Macaroni and Cheese boxes in our front yard?"

    "Johnny, have you been playing with the button in the kitchen again???"

    • Pressing the button does nothing if there is a pending order or an order in transit. I've tested this (I didn't care if a bunch of toilet paper showed up).

    • In addition to what turp182 said about not allowing multiple orders it also sends a notification to your phone telling you all about the order... and you receive multiple emails about the progress of that order (just like any Amazon order).

      You can even cancel the order within 30 minutes.

  • A dash button to order laundry detergent? No thank you.

    However, a dash button that would actually do the laundry? That I'd pay good money for!

  • i love them! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2015 @09:42AM (#50387809) Homepage

    Where else can you get a complete Wifi and processor board for hacking ready to go for $5.00?
    I just hope they dont realize that the 4 I bought will never be pushed to buy their products. I already have one triggering events on my Linux server, and soon to have the rest acting as remotes for home automation.

    • by pruss ( 246395 )

      An ESP8266 WiFi board, with easily reprogrammable firmware (you can even download firmware that runs lua scripts, e.g., a web server in a few lines of code), is $2.69 shipped on ebay. But the Dash also gets you a button and a battery, and that might be worth it depending on your application.

  • Honestly, who thought this was a good idea? This is up there with the Edsel and Baconnaise. It sounds like a joke (and wasn't it announced on or around April Fool's Day?!)
  • I think in its current form, this thing is not a good design. But give it a cheap 20 line LCD display and 20 corresponding buttons, with each line displaying a user-selectable product and the number of items currently on order, you have a winner. I'd get a handful and put them around the house for common items.

    • That seems like typical geek thinking (no offense intended)... add more features, more buttons, more complexity, and more expense. And honestly, I think it's precisely the oppose of what most people would actually want. It's the reason many geeks didn't get (and still don't get) why Apple products like iPods and iPhones are so insanely popular. They'll look at the specs and see that they're really no different or even technically inferior to the product they purchased for half the price, without ever und

  • Holy craps! Capitalistic systems have a built-in profit motive? And companies succumb to that motive to increase profits? Why did no one ever point this out before?

    For certain products, I would find this very convenient. Don't want one? Don't ask for one.

  • Holy crap, it's almost like they exist to sell stuff!

  • when I buy stuff online, I am very happy to go to the website, do a search, check prices, etc.

    But even then, I'm not going to buy stuff that way when there is a store RIGHT HERE... that I can get it from... NOW... and often at a lower price.

    Why press the button the at all? I'm not getting who this is for really. I don't see the demographic.

    If you're poor you don't buy things this way.
    If you're middle class you're very happy to buy it at the store.
    If you're rich and are just too busy to even look at a site o

  • I want a big "Pizza" button at my local pool. Nevermind: there's probably an app for that.

    • anyone old enough to remember the iOpener? (I have one still in a box, anyone want it? it has been modded to run linux; 2.0 iirc).

      https://commons.wikimedia.org/... [wikimedia.org]

      keyboard had a pizza key on it. not much else memorable about that failed marketing experiment.

      (and that's a $100 that I'll never see again. oh well. it was a different world back then)

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2015 @10:12AM (#50388059)
    I've all but stopped buying at Amazon. Yeah, the free shipping for orders over $35 is nice, but at what cost?

    .
    Amazon sits on those orders for nearly a week before they are shipped.

    The "shipping cost" is built in to the price of each item. So if you buy more than one item, you are over-paying for shipping.

    I recently purchase a WiFi Access Point from provantage.com. At that site shipping is extra. However, the cost of the item plus the cost of shipping was still less expensive than Amazon's price with "free shipping". Plus ProVantage shipped the item the same day as I ordered it. Since I am in UPS's next day delivery zone for ground shipments, I got the access point the next day, instead of waiting the 10 days as Amazon drags its feet.

    For me, it's life after Amazon, and it's a happy life.

    • I've all but stopped buying at Amazon. Yeah, the free shipping for orders over $35 is nice, but at what cost?

      They offer free shipping to Prime members for orders less than that. I get free shipping on things that just cost a few dollars. Sometimes they are add-on items so you have to order above a given threshold. Sometimes you can get things cheaper elsewhere but the prices at Amazon are usually competitive and the convenience is hard to beat.

      Amazon sits on those orders for nearly a week before they are shipped.

      Only if you explicitly select their slowest shipping methods. I have most stuff in my hands in exactly two days and even if I select their slower shipping methods it usu

  • Amazon (generally) isn't profitable. They need to find ways to make more money to stay in business. Is it surprising that they're trying to get more profit out of their store? As a customer, yes, that's annoying. I would love convenience, flexibility, and low prices for ever and ever. But, every other store on the planet is also trying branding, partnering and placement tricks like this to turn a profit. That candy isle at the grocery store checkout isn't there as a service to the customer.

  • by Chris Johnson ( 580 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2015 @10:20AM (#50388131) Homepage Journal

    Maybe it's the indie small business dev in me but I saw this and had one question:

    How much do you have to pay Amazon to be the one product in a given market segment that they do a Dash Button for?

    That's where the real money is, and precisely what Wal-Mart has been up to for all these years.

    If Huggies wants to kick Pampers off the Dash button so that everybody out there will randomly change products without thinking too much about it, they simply have to outbid Pampers. And whether the product has glass shards (actually crystallized sodium methylparaben, a preservative) has nothing to do with it.

    That's what the Dash Button is. Other companies bid to be the one represented on it, very likely losing money in order to have a little 'brand awareness' token stuck in people's actual houses, and Amazon gets paid from both ends.

    Not MY Dash Button ;) http://ep.yimg.com/ay/stylinon... [yimg.com]

  • by sirwired ( 27582 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2015 @10:40AM (#50388293)

    For the end-user, these things are of marginal utility. (In fact, I'm surprised they want to charge for them at all; you'd think they'd just toss them in for free if you've bought one of the items they cover a couple times.)

    The true customer for these is the brands they are surely charging to be featured on one of these buttons.

    Really, what Amazon should be doing is selling these "blank" at-cost to be used for the purchase of whatever item(s) you like.

  • by U2xhc2hkb3QgU3Vja3M ( 4212163 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2015 @10:45AM (#50388341)

    If you need something like those Dash buttons, you really need to learn to manage your inventories. Let's take paper towels for example. Always have two packs in your house. When the first pack is finished and you open up the second one, buy another pack the next time you shop for groceries or whatnot.

    And since I'm talking to programmers here, the newly opened second pack becomes the first pack and the newly bought pack becomes the second one. /sigh

    • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

      I see no reason why inventory management and these are mutually exclusive. In fact, it seems like an ideal thing for inventory management.

      If I am opening the last roll of papers towels, there is a very good chance I am already involved in some task. Do I stop that task and go do whatever is required so I remember to get towels next time I am at the store? More likely I keep going with the task and forget about the towels until we run out. The button would make it easy to order the towels without interru

  • Press a button, pay top dollar.

    Sounds similar to Priceline, a company which also obfuscates pricing information to extract the most from its customers.

    I could build my own dash tabs with an ESP8266 wifi board, and some Python code running on my home server, but relying on my memory is way easier.

  • My family has decided to avoid Amazon as much as possible because they changed their billing system in a manner guaranteed to confuse customers..

    First, they do not just ship an order, but ship by some magic optimization algorithms, where they might pick and choose between various of our open orders and ship opportunistically. We do not like that change, but we recognize there is a legit business reason or going that way, so we are okay enough with it..

    Second, they do not send you a bill that says "We sent

    • by blueg3 ( 192743 )

      I order quite a bit from Amazon, including things that split shipments (ship different days or are a mix of Prime and non-Prime). The "Your order [...] has shipped!" e-mails list an amount charged for the items that actually shipped, and these are the same values that appear on my credit card. While the default "Your Orders" view on the website groups things by order (which is not the same as shipment or credit card charge), the "Invoice" link on each order breaks down the order correctly (by shipment, with

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