Amazon's new Dash Buttons let you press push to buy

The online shopping giant hopes a button placed around a home or business will make re-ordering products easier.

With Dash Buttons, Amazon hopes to make ordering products even easier. Amazon

Nearly two decades ago, Amazon launched one-click ordering, making it easy for customers to buy anything on its site with a simple button-click.

Now it's bringing that technology to the real world.

The Web shopping giant said Tuesday it's launching Dash Buttons, a followup to the Dash remote scanning device it launched last year. The Dash, which is thinner than a typical television remote control, helped people order products from Amazon by letting them scan objects or speak the product's name into its built-in microphone.

With the new Dash Buttons, Amazon says customers can skip the scanner or microphone, and instead order any of more than one dozen products with the click of a button.

The effort could help grab the attention of shoppers who have opted to do their shopping at their local grocery store rather than through Amazon. The company has been steadily introducing features aimed at persuading them to do just that, including item subscriptions, which send products to customers at regular intervals for a discount. It's also expanded the types of products it offers, from books to electronics to groceries, and it's promised to offer delivery by drone sometime in the next few years.

With the Dash Button, Amazon hopes to lure shoppers who use its service to buy items like paper towels and coffee, but also go to the grocery store when items unexpectedly run out. Each button orders a specific item, like Kraft Mac & Cheese , and can be either hung with a hook or stuck with tape on the back near where the item is kept. Amazon said it will offer about 18 buttons to start, including those for baby food, coffee and paper towels.

Amazon is also offering its Dash service to product makers. Brother printers, Brita water filters and Whirlpool clothes washers and dryers will be among the first to integrate automated or easy ordering into the products. Amazon is working with a company called Quirky, which helps people build products like pet food dispensers. The way it works is that if, for instance, the Brita container notices its water filter has reached the end of its life, it can automatically order a new one -- without you needing to do anything.

Amazon said it won't charge for the buttons, and their battery life will last for years. For now, Dash Buttons are only available to customers through an invitation, which the company will start sending to customers Tuesday. The retailer expects to send a maximum of three to each home.

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