Since Amazon first debuted the Dash Wand in 2014, the tool has gone from a stick that could add grocery items to your shopping list to a $49 stick that lets Prime members order anything Amazon sells. In the latest update, Amazon is basically making the wand free (for Prime subscribers), integrating its Alexa digital assistant, and giving users the power to buy their items directly instead of having to check out on Amazon’s site.
Like previous Dash Wands, you can speak into this one or scan a barcode to add items to your list. Or, you can say something like, “Buy white wine right now,” and Alexa will confirm that it’s been ordered, and when it will arrive.
Though you can’t ask Alexa to play music, you can pose questions like, “How many cups are in an ounce?” or tell the digital assistant to search for recipes, look up the weather forecast, or dim the lights.
The new Dash Wand is available for $20 only for Prime subscribers, but once you’ve registered your new device, you’ll get $20 credited to your Amazon account, so it’s basically free.
You’ll also get 90 days of complimentary AmazonFresh grocery delivery service, which usually runs $15/month.
Why is Amazon basically giving away Dash Wands? The company has invested heavily in recent years to compete with Walmart and other supermarket chains by stressing the ease of re-ordering purchased products.
The company’s array of Dash buttons allowed Amazon customers to re-order items without having to even use their smartphone. However, these buttons are limited to a single product each and don’t always work as planned.
The apparent hope with the Dash Wand — and with the integration of Alexa — is that users will be able to place quick orders for a wider variety of products from Amazon.
Which explains why the company is throwing in the three-month free trial of AmazonFresh. While Amazon may have made inroads in terms of getting customers to buy cereal and detergent online, it’s had less luck convincing people to purchase milk and avocados.
[h/t The Verge]