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Smart Home

Amazon is going to kill your Dash button

The online retail giant says all Dash buttons will stop working at the end of the month.

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Good night, sweet Tide Amazon Dash button.

Amazon

If you're dying to test out the features of Amazon's Dash button, it's now or never. Amazon said Thursday it will turn off the capabilities of all its Dash buttons worldwide on Aug. 31.

This decision follows Amazon's move in February to stop selling new buttons. At the time, the company let folks with existing Dash buttons continue to order stuff with them, but an Amazon spokeswoman said usage "has significantly slowed" since then, resulting in the company pulling the plug completely on the program.

The Dash button, the ultimate single-use device, lets you buy an item on Amazon with one click. There was a Dash button for Tide detergent and one for Gillette razor blades and another for Sheeba cat food. Dozens were created, as brands quickly saw the buttons' value as a way of building customer loyalty and creating tiny ads in people's homes.

Way back in 2015, the buttons were Amazon's way of adding a little bit of smart-home magic into people's appliances, bathrooms and closets. The smart home market has exploded since then -- helped along in part by the creation of Dash buttons -- with internet-connected devices and appliances now being far more common. Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, has expanded its lineup of smart-home gear to include Ring video doorbells, Fire TV Edition televisions and a slew of Echo smart speakers.

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That change has made the Dash button obsolete, since plenty of printers and washing machines now essentially include Dash buttons built into them. If you want to buy something new, you can ask Alexa, instead of waiting for Amazon to send you a new button so you can then set it up and press it. In fact, it's now so much easier to buy stuff at home that some might complain that it's too easy, resulting in impulse purchases and excessive consumerism.

Amazon has replaced the physical buttons with virtual Dash buttons on its website, which will continue to be available. The company said it's seen growth in other options, too, such as voice shopping through Alexa as well as Dash Replenishment Service, which allows appliances to automatically reorder items like printer ink when they're running low. Subscribe & Save is another popular option that should help fill the shopping void left for any longtime Dash button enthusiasts.

Other retailers, like Walmart and Target, have also offered voice shopping through the Google Assistant and sped up their delivery times to convince Amazon shoppers to buy with them instead. None of these other retailers opted to create rivals to the Dash button. The idea, after all, was so far-fetched that many people thought it was a joke -- especially because Dash buttons were first launched on April Fools' Day.

In February, Amazon executive Daniel Rausch, who helped build up the Dash button program, said the most popular buttons were for necessities that often run out, like toilet paper and bottled water. Some less predictable hits included pet food and printer ink.

While those buttons will no longer work by month's end, folks will notice Dash's core concept of more seamless shopping remains alive in just about every smart home.