Amazon wants to revolutionize the way you shop for groceries with the Amazon Dash, a thin handheld wand that communicates to the AmazonFresh grocery store direct from your house. Starting on Friday, Amazon began offering the grocery shopping service by invite, only — to start with, anyway.
The Amazon Dash communicates directly to your home’s WiFi network. AmazonFresh sells literally millions of products. When a consumer wants or needs an item that they sell, a simple press on a button on the Amazon Dash, and then saying the product’s name, will place an order for it.
You can use the Amazon Dash to scan the product’s barcode, and then purchase whatever it is you’re short of, or would like to have. In other words, the amazon Dash is both a voice recorder and a scanner, combined in a handheld device that resembles a Nintendo Wii controller.
Whatever you scan with the Amazon Dash will show up when you look at your AmazonFresh account, so you will have a handy record of all of your purchases and whatever you might be planning to purchase next, according to Amazon.
What does the Amazon Dash look like?
Many people have compared what the Amazon Dash looks like to a communicator device, like those used by Captain Kirk and Spock in Star Trek. However, while it can buy you groceries, and save you the time you’d spend going shopping for them, it won’t beam you up to the Enterprise.
Though the Amazon Dash is currently free, there’s a catch: you have to have an AmazonFresh account to request one. Even then, requesting one will just put you on a waiting list to receive an invitation from Amazon to try out this new, experimental service.
Who has access to AmazonFresh?
Not everybody has access to AmazonFresh. This service is so far only available in Seattle, Amazon’s hometown, and — on a trial basis — in the San Francisco Bay area and Southern California.
Besides the limited numbers of Amazon customers who will initially have access to the Amazon Dash, and AmazonFresh, consumers will need to have an Amazon Prime Fresh account. These are free for the first 30 days, but then will set you back $299 US dollars per year. One good thing about the service is that if you order over $35 worth of goods, you get them delivered directly to your house for free. You can also schedule when it would be best for you to have the products delivered.
Assuming you have access to the AmazonFresh service and you have an Amazon Dash, you can often have the products delivered to your doorstep as early as the very next morning.
Amazon touts the Amazon Dash as being simple enough for a child to use, but that is actually one thing you want to be careful about — namely, your child or teenager might use the device to order products, kind of like they’d add items to your shopping cart in a store when you’re not looking.
Amazon’s move into delivering groceries and other products directly to your doorstep might take them awhile to implement nationwide, but what Amazon and the Amazon Dash will do is nothing less than revolutionize the way you buy food and other products in the future. Neighborhood stores will never go away, but it’s hard to beat the convenience of buying products directly from your home using the Amazon Dash.
Written by: Douglas Cobb