The End of Grocery Shopping as We Know It?

By: Donna Sutton

It’s happened to all of us – you finish off the last of the peanut butter at breakfast and make a mental note to buy more next time you’re at the store. But on your next grocery run, that peanut butter slips your mind and you only realize you’ve forgotten itafter you’ve purchased and unpacked your groceries. Shouldn’t there be an easier way?

Here’s where Amazon Dash comes in. With this innovative new handheld scanner from, users simply scan an item – like that empty jar of peanut butter –and the product is automatically added to their Amazon Fresh shopping order.  Dash is Wi-Fi enabled and connects directly to users’ Amazon Fresh accounts, so they can select a week’s worth of groceries without ever turning on their computer. It’s voice activated as well, in case users think of an item they want but don’t currently have on hand to scan. When they’re ready to order, users just log into their accounts to purchase and schedule a delivery.

In today’s dog-eat-dog CPG landscape, exciting innovations like Amazon Dash are one of the best ways to get ahead.  IRI’s Q1 2014 MarketPulse survey found consumers are feeling more optimistic about their finances, but still place a strong emphasis on value. Of course value can be synonymous with low prices, but for many time-starved consumers, value is best conveyed through convenience. Amazon Dash, for example, offers a very enticing convenience value proposition. Users can easily restock pantry staples and their favorite brands without the hassle of having to search for those products on the grocery aisle or online.

Currently Amazon Dash scanners are available by invitation only, but this unprecedented level of convenience will likely attract many consumers in today’s increasingly time-stressed society. Amazon’s existing infrastructure has already given Amazon Fresh a leg-up over other online grocery startups, and Dash is likely to further boost that edge. This type of creative, leading-edge offering is a great example of CPG innovation, and is certainly worth watching and considering.

What do you think of Amazon Dash? Will this offering help make online grocery shopping more mainstream? There’s no doubt this is convenient, but is that convenience worth the extra cost of delivery fees, or the potential environmental impact of having items driven long distances in large trucks instead of purchasing them locally? There are already many barcode-scanning apps to help consumers with list making, but should traditional grocery stores follow Amazon’s lead and offer something similar?

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