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First Amazon announced physical Dash buttons to make it easy for consumers to reorder their favorite products. Then it launched virtual versions of the product to embed on the Amazon website and mobile app, providing one-click reordering power for items you recently purchased. Now Amazon has revealed the next phase in its plan to corner the ecommerce market with programmable buying buttons.

The company has announced the Virtual Dash Button Service (VDBS), effectively a software development kit (SDK) that lets third parties put virtual dash buttons on connected devices with screens.


This is actually related to another of Amazon’s automated offerings. Back in 2015, when it first announced its physical Dash buttons, Amazon also unveiled the Dash replenishment service — it was a way for device manufacturers to integrate automated reordering technology into their products. For example, a company making printers could set things up so the printer would automatically beckon new ink when it runs low, or a washing machine maker could insure the appliance would request new detergent as needed.

However, the Dash replenishment service worked on devices without a screen, whereas the new virtual Dash button service is aimed at screened devices. This opens things up to manual reordering, meaning any device maker that wants to integrate directly with Amazon’s one-click ordering system can do so.

For manufacturers such as Whirlpool, LG, and Samsung — which Amazon said are already using VDBS, it removes friction from the ordering process while giving consumers more control. And it gives Amazon further reach into the smart home. For example, Whirlpool has already announced that it will be adding Amazon’s virtual Dash buttons to its connected fridges to make it easier for consumers to reorder groceries directly from the fridge’s LCD screen.

“We’ve all felt the frustration of realizing we’re out of something we frequently use, so it’s no surprise customers are loving the convenience of Dash replenishment, which makes shopping for everyday consumables completely disappear,” noted Amazon’s VP of smart home, Daniel Rausch, in a press release. “Dash replenishment takes advantage of smart, connected products, enabling a device to track supply usage so a customer never runs out of what they need.”

The virtual Dash button service is open to “device makers of all sizes,” but for now you will have to apply by emailing Amazon with information about your device and use case. The SDK will be freely available “in the coming months,” according to Amazon.

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