If you’re like most people who read the news about the Amazon Dash Button on April 1, you thought it was literally an April Fool’s joke. No way could there be a button you mount to your countertop that sends you more Maxwell House or Tide instantly with one press! Yes way. See it here.
It’s the ultimate in convenience – which we’ve long seen in our Eco Pulse study is prioritized over the environment. It’s also free, available only to Amazon Prime members (who are already wired for convenience since they pay $99/year to get faster shipping and unlimited movie and song streaming), and a BRILLIANT strategy for keeping people brand-loyal. If I’ve got a Maxwell House button mounted in my pantry, I’m not going to be drifting over to Folgers ever.
So why does this matter to you if you’re in the energy, building or sustainability space? Here’s why:
- Sustainability: If Amazon can make it so I can press a button and get whatever product I want without the hassle of going to the store and shopping around, why on earth do I need to shop around for greener products? Shouldn’t manufacturers just handle it and bake sustainability in, so it happens automatically?
- Energy: If I can press a button and set off a complicated chain of events – my credit card is charged, products are put in a box, a shipper is summoned, and the products are delivered to my already-known address – why on earth can’t I pay my utility bill with the push of a button on my smart phone? And why can’t I get real-time notifications to my phone when I’m spending more money on energy than usual, or get outage notifications with an actual, exact time that my lights will be back on? Why doesn’t my utility – who I buy from every minute of every day – know me as well as Amazon?
- Built Environment: Wait a minute … you want ME to change my behaviors to be more energy efficient? Are you kidding me? Isn’t there an app for that? No way am I going to undergo home renovations or extra effort on my part … my house should just already be energy efficient, or there should be a magic button I push that signals everything in my home to power down and up in a way that saves me piles of money, without me having to change anything.
Now, in fairness, many manufacturers and utilities are working on these types of innovations. But every time someone like Amazon launches something like a Dash Button, consumer expectations go up. Utilities, manufacturers and building products and services companies need to get in the market NOW with innovations that make managing our homes and energy consumption super-easy and that make sustainability automatic. The longer it takes, the more frustrated they’ll get. And, truly, whichever tech company gets in the game first with an elegant solution will likely be The Winner.