Amazon’s New Dash Button Was Not an April Fools’ Joke

Amazon.com introduced a device Tuesday with which customers can reorder products with, literally, the push of a button. The Seattle retailer's Dash Button is a physical version of its 1-click ordering. The user sets up the device to correspond to a certain product (say, a 24-pack of Bounty paper towel rolls) and sticks the device in a convenient place (say, inside the cabinet where paper towels are kept). When the supply runs low, the user can press the button to order more of that product.

Despite speculation that the Dash Button is an early April Fools' Day joke, Amazon spokeswoman Kinley Pearsall assured the Los Angeles Times that it's real.

The device is free, connects directly to Wi-Fi and is about the size of a pack of gum, Pearsall said. It's currently available to Amazon Prime members by invitation only.

A total of 255 products from 18 brands are available through the Dash Button program. They include Gerber baby formula, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Maxwell House coffee, Glad trash bags, Gillette razors and Tide laundry detergent, among other items.

When the button is pushed, the user receives a cellphone notification and can cancel the order within 30 minutes, Pearsall said.

And there's no need to worry that overzealous button-pushing will lead to a deluge of the product. As a default setting, the Dash Button program will handle only one order at a time, Pearsall said: "If you already have paper towels on the way, we won't send you another order."

The program does not replace Amazon's Subscribe & Save program, through which customers can place monthly recurring orders at a discount.

"The subscription service works super well for things you can predict how often you're going to need them," Pearsall said, but the button can work better for people who can't predict how often they'll need to...

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