Amazon has stopped selling Dash buttons, the “April Fool” product which it believed would make it more convenient for customers to purchase their favourite products.
Dash buttons were first launched on 1 April 2015, prompting most people to suspect they were a joke – although there is a long history of companies launching groundbreaking products on that day.
But unlike Gmail, Google’s free email service with 1GB of storage which was launched on 1 April, 2004, the Dash buttons failed to permanently disrupt the world of retail.
They were essentially wifi-connected plastic buttons featuring brand names stuck around the home which could be pressed to immediately reorder a specific product.
Costing £4.99 to purchase in the UK, the button’s adhesive back allowed it to be mounted on a surface near appliances – such as washing machines – so a customer could reorder essential products when they realised they were running low.
They did not immediately order the product, as a confirmation would be sent to the owner’s phone to check the button had not been pushed accidentally.
Although a lot of people seemed to buy them – Amazon claimed customers bought more than 900 tons of laundry detergent via Dash buttons – the online nature of those customers’ shopping experience had made them rapidly obsolete.
According to the retail giant, digital Dash buttons in its shopping app, as well as shopping conducted via its voice-controlled Echo speakers, meant that the physical buttons just weren’t being used very much.
Amazon became the second company listed in the US to achieve a market value of $1trn (£779.3bn) last September.