Amazon announced that it is discontinuing Amazon Dash after four years. Reading a few articles on this today that seem to imply this is some kind of failure.
What was the purpose of Amazon Dash?
When Amazon Dash launched, the intent was clear to me. In a blog from April 2015, Target and Amazon: Scarcity, Innovation and Execution I made the following prediction:
Will the DASH button revolutionize retailing? Once again we experience attention grabbing innovation from a company that has set the pace for the market for decades. This innovation in particular has highlighted the potential of the internet of things in a very practical way. I don’t think this step on the path has staying power but certainly has moved “things” forward. I don’t really see a future where a consumer will have dozens or a hundred buttons around the house. Of course the buttons are completely unnecessary as the customer can easily order online or on an app. Its highly likely that Amazon planned this as a short term marketing push, likely funded by the branded manufacturers. It does reinforce the convenience aspect that is appealing to many customers.
Amazon has taken the industry on a journey
Stodgy old retailers grumble about Amazon, but it really is the best thing to happen in retail in a generation. The industry was boring and tired, stores needed attention, and customers were uninspired. Amazon has taken the industry on a journey. The old saying that when the going gets tough, the tough get going, always rings true. We are now coming out the other side of the evolutionary event. Tough competitors, with stronger balance sheets, are moving forward with digital business transformation. For these retailers the journey was painful but the future is growing more clear.
The days of decades-long stability are over
Innovation is by its very nature experimental. Very few innovations will transform a business. Most will lead to new and different variations. Increasingly the speed of change in technology means that innovations will have a short life span. The thing to copy from Amazon is its passion for innovation that is driven by improving the customer experience.
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