ake Amazon wants its Prime subscribers ordering from its online store all the time, so it just cooked up a new device to help them do exactly that — and it’s essentially giving it away for free.
The company just launched a new instant-ordering gadget, the Dash Wand, that lets you fill up your Amazon shopping cart by using voice commands or scanning barcodes on the packages you have sitting in your kitchen cupboards.
The Dash Wand is essentially an updated version of the OG Amazon Dash wand that debuted in 2015, but this newer version crucially adds Amazon’s artificially intelligent assistant, Alexa, to help out. The digital assistant can sync your shopping list across Amazon devices, convert units of measurement, and search for recipes.
This is a huge upgrade for Amazon’s instant-ordering devices. The original Dash was significantly bigger, cost more than twice as much as this new one, and only worked with AmazonFresh orders.
Amazon’s really pushing the Wand, offering a similar deal to previous promotions for its instant ordering Dash buttons. If you buy a Dash Wand for $20, you’ll qualify immediately for $20 credit for your next purchase after registering the device. It literally pays for itself — and you can opt-in for a free 90-day AmazonFresh trial, which typically costs $15 per month. It’s actually a pretty great deal for anyone with a Prime subscription.
The Wand is also magnetic, so it can live on your fridge close to all of your most frequently ordered foods, and its Alexa access makes it more useful than the Dash buttons, which are restricted to one item instant ordering.
You don’t get the full Alexa experience here, though. The Wand can’t play music, and its press-button functionality means it won’t automatically respond to the genial “Hey, Alexa” wake command.
It might sound ridiculous that the company is essentially giving the Wands away with all the discounts and incentives, but it’s a savvy business move. Making the shopping experience easier and offering a new Alexa toy to play with will only drive up orders, as if Amazon needs any help to keep its business afloat.
Why It’s Hot
Connected AI experiences make the virtual assistant craze more useful. Amazon is pushing forward on many different ways to connect Alexa with other platforms, and this is a great example of a type of utility that in a few years we will wonder how we lived without.