Amazon would like to worm its way into your kitchen shelves, medicine cabinet and storage room -- and stay there.
The country's biggest online retailer said Wednesday it's doubling down on its Dash buttons -- a set of small Internet-connected buttons emblazoned with brand logos that consumers can click to order new products shipped from the company. Say you need new Tide detergent -- just press the button.
The Dash button could act as a tiny storefront for Amazon to remind customers to buy products from the company -- something the online retailer can't normally do out on the street since it doesn't have brick-and-mortar stores.
The companyin late March, but only on a limited basis and at times by invite only. Amazon on Wednesday said it's making the tiny device a more permanent feature, now allowing all its US Prime members to purchase the buttons. The retailer also added 11 more Dash buttons to the mix, including buttons to order Ziploc bags, Dixie disposable tableware and Mrs. Meyer's cleaning products. That grows the total lineup to 29 brands, so customers can now set their buttons to order from more than 500 products.
"This announcement is really a sign that it's working and we'll continue to scale and grow it," Daniel Rausch, Amazon's director of product management, said in an interview. "It's not an experiment anymore."
However, keeping with Amazon's typical secretiveness about its numbers, Rausch declined to disclose how many Dash buttons have been shipped so far.
After testing out a few payment options -- including offering buttons for free -- Amazon will now sell a Dash device for $4.99 a pop, but then reimburse customers that money back after their first purchase with the button.
Another way Amazon is creating physical representations of buying on its website are through its consumer electronics, with customers able to ask the new Amazon Echo speaker to put in a purchase for new paper towels or dish soap. The company's Fire tablets and Kindle e-readers also help direct purchases of e-books, movies and TV shows.
When asked about this strategy, though, Rausch said the Dash button was created to make people's lives easier and work as an extension of user's Prime memberships -- in which folks pay $99 a year for no-fee shipping and other benefits.
Amazon is also developing ways to bring the Dash technology to other companies' products to enable easier ordering of goods. For example, through its Dash Replenishment Service, Amazon is working on allowing Brother printers to automatically reorder ink cartridges when they're running low or letting Brita water systems to purchase new filters when needed.