The push for groceries

Amazon Dash button on washing machine
September 1, 2016 10:36 am

The push for groceries

One press of a Wi-Fi connected button enables instant ordering of, for now, up to 40 brands through the launch of the ‘Dash’ service for Amazon Prime customers in the UK. Said to take the tedious out of shopping, following its success in the US, UK customers can now strategically place these push buttons in convenient locations just waiting for that product to run out.

You can imagine the customer stories that this would solve. The convenience of never running out of key products that are, quite frankly, not exciting to shop for. But what does that mean for the user experience of grocery shopping in general, and will it open up a shift in behaviour and customer expectations for the main grocery home shopping brands in the UK?

New brand struggle

Singular brand button for re-order may make us less susceptible to new product launches and new brands emerging on the market. How will new products to market cope with this? We’ve all seen the free dispenser with your first purchase of washing powder; will be get free re-order buttons with your first purchase through Amazon Grocery?


What will the propensity of take up be? Potentially, if you are a brand person opening up your food cupboard could be an overwhelming experience with the duplicate brands on show through their physical product with their one push button nearby.

Accidental trigger

Let’s face it, small children love buttons. They love to press stuff. It’s an action, it’s an interaction – they’re going to do it. The Amazon Dash service has intelligence built in to automatically cancel a repeat purchase with 24 hours. But what if those little hands start ordering unnecessary items?

Are we looking at fingerprint ID? Or will it be like dangerous liquids and we’re going to have to think about placement out of reach which might affect the convenience of the button?

FOMO – Fear of missing out

We see this regularly when testing online grocery customers using features to encourage re-order such as favourites and shopping lists. For the customer who looks who is normally brand loyal for certain products but I also open to deals, so this is going to be a conundrum. Back to the washing powder example again, I may prefer Fariy Non-Bio – but I’m open to killer deals on non-bio in general. This may be a barrier to customers. How would the UX world look at this customer story? Could the push button trigger a notification to your smartphone with an ‘are you sure?’ interface, which could give options to cancel as well as see other options before confirming the order? It could, but this could take the ‘one button’ ease away from the product.

Are we brand loyal enough?

In the UK, are we loyal enough to brands to harbour all these buttons within our home? How much do we flit across products and brands? There’s no doubt to the appeal of this option to brand adopters, but will we end up with multiple buttons for the same product type? How will those brands compete against each other when the customer is choosing which button to press? Will we see some clever branding on the buttons, or will there be an opportunity for brands to see the data on re-order history and therefore target their campaigns accordingly to pre-empt that push?

Next gen features

The one push is convenient, it’s easy and it works for certain products. But what about when brands have varieties or the customer needs to order volume? Will there be a secret hand shake that you can do with the button, and press it twice to order double – or will that open a world of pain for customer services needing to re-fund products? Customers will always want more from the interface and may expect advanced features.

Here at SimpleUsability we observe hundreds of online grocery shoppers in our studios, so we’re always excited to explore the user experience on how customers can order. The features and future of grocery home shopping is always changing with even a ‘Dash Replenishment’ service where devices can automatically ordering new supplies, e.g. tablets or ink cartridges – so we’re intrigued with how these changes will effect customer behaviour.