Amazon’s new Dash scanning device is being used in a few markets that have been selected as test markets for the Amazon Fresh service. I’m not holding my breath for Amazon to expand Fresh into the North Atlanta suburbs, but even so, this is a great bit of eCommerce evolution that we should see have a big impact on how we interact with online services. Why should we care? Here’s why:
It’s about more than bar codes: The Amazon Fresh folks in Southern California, San Francisco, and Seattle are now able to place orders by using a bar code scanner or voice search. Bar code scanning is pretty boring these days, but the fact that voice search has become more accurate now makes a device like this useful, essentially creating an entirely new channel through which a customer can interact with a company. The combination of the two, integrated directly with Amazon via your home wifi network, is the first step in making eCommerce almost automatic.
It’s about more than groceries and other home items: A successful market test of the Dash could lead to these devices being used in a business environment that can’t afford the investment in automated inventory management tools. In a small manufacturing business, for example, certain employees could be given these devices to be able to order parts, raw materials, or even machine maintenance. I’m not anticipating that Amazon will enter the field of machine maintenance, but they could license this technology for such use. Imagine the benefits to a business when a machine operator could scan a bar code on a piece of equipment then record a brief description of what’s happening before a technician is dispatched.
It’s about more than a single device: Any growing business may eventually have to make the decision to invest in software to manage the needs of the business, especially if there are raw materials involved. Being able to have several Dash-like devices feeding input to a centralized purchasing authority for review and approval would ease the entire process. Eventually, with wifi geolocation possibilities, a purchasing director would know when and from where an order was placed. This could also help determine where in an organization a delivery should be made.
As someone who lives in an area that doesn’t have Amazon Fresh, I am hopeful that the Dash meets with favorable reviews and that we will see this type of technology applied across other sectors of industry that could further benefit by expanded eCommerce connectivity. This is just the beginning folks…