by Ben Burke -- April 08, 2014

The Amazon Dash is a remote control-like wand that you use at home to scan bar codes on grocery items and add them directly to your Amazon Fresh grocery list.  Using a Dash at home is akin to registering for wedding gifts with a hand-held scanner at a department store.  It’s a simple yet remarkable innovation that appears to be easy to use, and has an Awesome Factor that will have everyone talking about it.

The question will be how useful the Dash is for the savvy internet shopper once the initial aura of “Awesomeness” wears off.  The Dash only helps you buy items you already have in your house – it’s a convenience tool that quickly adds things to your shopping list after you run out of something, like butter.  But once purchased, won’t your household butter supply be more easily refreshed directly on the Amazon Fresh website?  Since you still have to place your grocery order from the website (the Dash alone can’t do it), how much time does the Dash really save you?

I also wish I could add new items to my shopping list when I’m not at home.  If the Dash functionality was on my smartphone I could scan new items wherever I am, for example, if I were at a friend’s house and wanted to add a new ice cream or bottle of wine I really liked to my virtual shopping cart. 

When the Dash is available in Seattle (it’s only available in San Francisco and Los Angeles to start), it is likely that I will get one as soon as possible.  And it will be Awesome – at least for a while.  But I also suspect it might be used 6 times and then lost in a drawer after the honeymoon period is over. 

The Awesome Factor is likely enough to tempt shoppers to try Amazon Fresh delivery for the first time, but it remains to be seen whether Amazon’s Dash will have what it takes to become of broader value to consumers.