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Amazon Dash — foolish joke or disruptive innovation?

Earlier this week on the day before April Fools’, Amazon launched two new services. The first was called Amazon Dash (see above video) and the second was called Amazon Home Services. The entire internet seemed to think that Dash was actually an April Fool’s joke, but it turns out it’s not. In fact, it’s actually an incredibly smart product.

The way it works is simple. Each branded Dash Button is about the size of a pack of gum. You mount it in, on, and near things that you replace on a regular basis, such as laundry detergent, coffee refills, and so on. Then all you have to do is push the button and your order gets sent to Amazon. Shortly after the product arrives at your door. I say “shortly” because you can be certain that Amazon’s goal is to make that time frame as short as physically possible.

I don’t know about you, but I could definitely see myself using this product. There are a number of essentials – such as laundry detergent and toilet paper – that I just hate shopping for. I have to create reminder appointments in my calendar just so I don’t forget. In fact, I did that today and I still forgot to pick everything up on my way home (my phone died).

But what’s even more interesting about Dash, I think, is that it increases the threat to brick-and-mortar retailing and, more specifically, big box stores. Because if same day and same hour delivery is a big threat to big box stores, just imagine one button and same hour delivery. And, is it only a matter of time before something like this comes to Apple Watch? It seems like the right medium for it.

Isn’t it interesting how something that most people believe is a silly joke could actually turn out to be a huge innovation? I try to always remain open minded. Sometimes it’s hard. But it’s good practice.

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