Eventually of course, these individual packages that are ordered through phones, buttons, or other devices, will be delivered by a personal drone as part of the Amazon Prime Air service.

Amazon’s shopping vision of the future has so far been met with everything from indifference to outright disdain. Sales of the Fire phone have been very poor and this has presumably prompted Amazon to release new technology like the Echo and Dash Button on an invitation-only basis. Even so, the devices signify where Amazon is hoping to push consumers—to meet its ever-growing need to keep them shopping with Amazon for everything they need. In particular, this need is driving Amazon’s business to grow the membership of Amazon Prime. This service already accounts for 50% of Amazon’s sales, luring users with free shipping and other perks like unlimited access to books, TV, and movies.

The problem Amazon faces, however, is that they view their consumers in a way that is epitomized by their promotional video for the Dash Button.

In the video, the mother is shown using the same (heavily) packaged products repetitively and unthinkingly. It is like watching the on-earth, domestic equivalent of astronauts eating space food. The family eats packets of processed macaroni and cheese, drinks bottled water, and uses individually packaged coffee pods. “Don’t let running out ruin your rhythm” the video proclaims as the mother’s frustration at running out of coffee pods is reversed on delivery of a packing box containing more pods from Amazon.

It is hard to imagine the average household having Dash Buttons stuck to every surface in the house, indeed, covering the fridge. Consumers also do not normally limit themselves to just one specific product in a given category, with price promotions being a heavy factor in what they buy. The Dash Button concept also ignores the fact that most grocery shopping, in the US at least, is so-called “occasion” shopping, with only 23% being for re-stocking items. There is also the fact that in other countries, like Australia, people actually like to shop, and do so at least twice a week on average.

It is also hard to see how Amazon makes the delivery of individual items—like a replacement box of washing powder—economically viable or environmentally sustainable. Given that there is already a problem with the quantity of packaging resulting from online shopping, services like Amazon’s Dash Button, if it became popular, would quickly escalate the problem.

Then of course there is the privacy issue. Although the Dash Button is less insidious than the Echo, which potentially listens to every conversation in a house waiting for a command, it still has the potential to reveal more information about individuals than people suspect. This is because it is designed to be actioned when there is a perceived need, which is most likely to happen when things are actually being used. At the very least, this information could then be used to target users with specific ads.

Amazon’s forays into testing the future of shopping may be limited experiments and may never get rolled out to the general public, or even be successful if they are. They do point, however, to a company that is increasingly unable to convert its massive enterprise into one that consistently makes profits. It is hard to see Amazon’s currently strange vision of the future of online shopping doing that for them.

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