Amazon Dash Service Goes Live; Useful or Gimmick?

John Lister's picture

A printer that never runs out of ink and a washing machine that never runs out of detergent are now finally available. The devices automatically replenish themselves (sort of), thanks to a link to Amazon.

The devices, from Brother and General Electric respectively, are among the first to take advantage of Amazon's Dash technology. Dash was first announced on the first of April last year, causing many readers to think it was an April Fool's Prank. In its original incarnation, Amazon Dash was a branded push button that could be stuck anywhere in the home, whereby users would press the button to re-order supplies.

System Designed For Consumable Supplies

In a nut shell, the Amazon Dash system contains a WiFi link and, when activated, sends an electronic order to Amazon to replace a relevant product. For consumable products that use a device such as a coffee machine or water filter, the Amazon Dash system is used as a service (known officially as the Amazon Dash Replenishment Service, or "DRS"), and is seamlessly integrated into the device. For other consumable products such as toilet paper or sport drinks, a separate external button can be used to re-order supplies.

The original button-based system was set up so that after an order was placed, the button couldn't be used to place a follow-up order until the Amazon records showed the previous one had arrived. That was designed to stop situations such as two roommates both pressing the button after noticing supplies were low.

Supplies Arrive Just In Time

The announcement today goes a step further as most devices won't have a stand-alone button. Instead, they'll be set up so that the device will monitor supplies and usage and then automatically place an order when supplies are running low; the idea is that the replacements should arrive shortly before they are needed. Of course, this will only happen as long as the user has activated the feature and linked to an Amazon account. (Source:

As well as printers and washing machines, other devices will include a blood glucose meter that reorders test strips; a water filtering system that reorders filters; and a range of automated pet feeders that reorder pet food.

As well as announcing the partnerships, Amazon has released a software toolkit that allows any manufacturer of an Internet-connected device to incorporate automatic reordering with as little as 10 lines of code. Of course, the system only works for placing orders through Amazon. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Would you use an automated reordering feature on a device? Is this genuinely useful or a silly gimmick? Would the convenience outweigh the potential savings of shopping around for replacement supplies?

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Dennis Faas's picture

I use Amazon quite a bit, though I'm wondering how useful this would be if the Dash system is used for small orders? Right now if you order small items on Amazon, they are considered as "add-ons". In this case, it only makes sense to add these items to your shopping cart if your order is above $35 so that you can qualify for free shipping. The idea is that these small add-on items will cost more to ship than they are worth. So I'm wondering in this case, how will small items be shipped if ordered through the Dash system? I supposed manufacturers could increase volume so that each order is worth at least $35. If that is the case, Dash replacement orders could be prohibitively expensive.

Boots66's picture

Morning Dennis - for me in a word - Gimmick - But let me qualify that - There are enough people out there nowadays, who think that their lives are far to busy and important, "To take a minute and smell the flowers".

I hardly takes a moment in my house for me to check and see if I have extra of this or that item in my house, often as I pass by it going somewhere else in the house.

Do I need Dash or would I use it - NO! I wouldn't take the time to set it up either.
Like you said - expensive is likely. Drone delivery to cut costs for something small ordered like this - ??!!

Do I need something - Iput on a list. Have I used Amazon, yes! Good idea, but I prefer the brick and mortar store where I can actually handle something before I buy, then it is mine NOW with no waiting for delivery. -If you shop wisely and it often doesn't take a lot of effort, you can find prices just as low as places like Amazon.

For me, shopping for things like 'groceries', gives me a chance to slow down and wander the aisles and look for what I need. However, I will admit that often for that item I shouldn't get, but will buy it anyways.

dan_2160's picture

Seriously, how damned lazy can we get?