The online giant first discontinued Dash button sales in February but had said it would support product reorders if customer demand was there. But an Amazon spokesperson told CNET on Thursday (Aug. 1) that usage “has significantly slowed.”
In its place, Amazon created virtual dash buttons for customers who had physical ones and will still offer the Amazon Dash Wand that has a built-in microphone and barcode scanner.
The Dash button was launched in 2015, a year after Alexa. The push-button device allowed shoppers to easily reorder frequently-used products like pet food and coffee. Within two years, it had become one of Amazon’s fastest-growing services with almost 6,000 orders each day. But despite big brands linking to Dash, like Listerine, Tylenol and even Calvin Klein, Amazon shifted its strategy to focus instead on Alexa.
Amazon expanded in-skill purchasing in May to Japan, the U.K and Germany, allowing developers to generate revenue from voice apps. It was first introduced in the U.S. in 2018 as a way for developers to earn money through apps by the sale of goods. The push is meant to incentivize developers to continue making voice skills for Alexa, as the technology is still fairly young, and many are figuring out what works and what doesn’t.
There are about 80,000 Alexa skills on the market, capable of helping consumers do everything from booking an Uber to listening to music. When 2018 rang in, Alexa was compatible with just over 4,000 devices.
While voice commands are popular, using the smart devices to shop has been slower to catch on. In 2018, just a quarter to a third of U.S. smart speaker owners had ever purchased something using voice — and just 2 percent of Alexa owners had made a purchase via Alexa.