Defeating the Easy Button

The latest e-commerce disruptor is attracting popular c-store brands. Should you care?
Amazon Dash Red Bull button

Button, button—who’s got the Amazon Dash Button?

Unfortunately, brands in your store. Hershey, for one, established an Ice Breakers dash button in 2015. Other candy and snack brands participating are Mondelez, Wrigley (Orbit gum), Clif Bar, Frito-Lay (Doritos) and Perfetti Van Melle (Mentos).

Amazon Dash Buttons are small plastic tags emblazoned with brand logos that sit anywhere in a consumer’s home. These Wi-Fi-enabled gizmos execute reorder fulfillment at the press of the button, literally, and the item lands on the user’s doorstep within a day or two.

“Today more than ever before, consumers are shifting their media consumption and purchasing to the digital space, and Mentos wants to be at the forefront of this movement,” said Sylvia Buxton, vice president of marketing for Erlanger, Ky.-based Perfetti Van Melle, in a recent statement upon announcement of the brand’s participation with the Amazon Dash Button.

Should you be worried? Bill Bishop thinks so. Bishop, chief architect for Brick Meets Click, a Barrington, Ill.-based e-commerce consulting firm, says he views the technology as a threat inasmuch as the buttons are considered “basket bandits”—an e-commerce subsegment that siphons off impulse-product category sales such as snacks, candy, gum/mints and single-serve beverages.

70%

The amount Amazon said Dash Button orders grew during a three-month period

Source: Fast Company

Basket bandits captured a whopping 84% of all online grocery trips, a recent Brick Meets Click survey revealed. Other basket bandits include Blue Apron, ThriveMarket.com and Drugstore.com. Grocery ordering site Peapod.com, meanwhile, is considered a comprehensive “big shop” provider and less of a threat to c-stores.

“Since 2013, the percentage of shoppers that have bought groceries from Amazon in the past 30 days has gone up 25%. It now captures nearly half of all trips,” Bishop says.

Some don’t think the Dash Button will affect c-stores’ fortunes as much as other e-commerce models.

“It will have little impact,” says Steve Montgomery, president of B­B Solutions, Lake Forest, Ill., pointing to the single-serve tendencies of c-store customers.

“Beverage items popular in c-stores are being sold in case lots on Dash Button, such as Red Bull being sold in cases of 12- or 24-units. The same is true for confections, where M&M’s come in a 60-pack of mini packets. That’s not your typical purchase quantity in a c-store.”