We live in an increasingly on-demand world where consumers are expecting instant gratification and convenience. Throughout 2016, we saw companies such as Amazon, Carling and Peroni introduce one-click ordering buttons, a concept which the likes of Domino’s and Evian started experimenting with as far back as 2012. Could these buttons be a winning solution to satisfy shoppers? And could they enable brands to eliminate competition and create customer loyalty?

Early Adopters

Domino’s and Evian, or in other words the ‘early adopters’, were among the first brands we saw experimenting with one-click buttons.

Evian launched its ‘Smart Drop’ fridge magnet device in 2012 as part of its home delivery service in Paris, evianchezvous.com, which can order a water delivery by pushing it.

Domino’s launched its ‘Easy Order’ mini pizza box-shaped bluetooth button in 2015. It works alongside the mobile app to deliver a customer's favourite order once pressed.

Amazon Dash Buttons

Meanwhile, Amazon’s Dash Buttons connect via Wi-Fi to a Prime member’s account. Each button is specific to a particular brand, and once the account holder has set-up using Amazon’s smartphone app, products can be reordered by simply pressing the button. Each device is essentially free, with the price of the button offset in the first order.

It launched in 2015 in the US, and Prime members currently have the choice of over 200 brands, including many food and beverage brands.

The buttons became available in the UK, Austria and Germany in 2016, and there are currently around 40 UK households using them. Although there are few brands in Europe currently available, we expect this will change soon, following the US’s recent expansion.

The Dash Buttons are enabling Amazon to increase its focus on the FMCG category, and essentially making itself the ubiquitous online destination for its customers, in particular Prime members.

Beer buttons

Instant reordering buttons have proved popular with beer brands. We have seen numerous brands try and take advantage of auto-replenishment systems to ensure their products get back into shoppers’ baskets.

In 2016, Carling introduced its own internet connected ‘Beer Button’, which links with the UK’s four biggest grocers: Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons. Carling’s ‘Beer Button’ is similar to Amazon’s Dash Buttons, except the user does not need to pay a membership fee. The button is used alongside its own smartphone app.

Peroni Nastro Azzurro has started trialling its own beer button, in partnership with Ocado. Peroni is inviting Ocado customers to apply to be part of the trial which allows them to test the ‘Press for Peroni’ button and app, and provide feedback.

The feedback will provide Peroni and Ocado with advice on how to improve the button or whether there is a need for it at all. The device is designed to attach to the fridge and, when pressed, add a pack of Peroni to the Ocado customer’s order.

Where next with buttons: customisable

The simplicity of one push buttons could be its potential downfall. It doesn’t seem likely that people will want to have a button for every product that they want to reorder in their home, especially when you consider that most grocery shops contain between 50 to 70 items.

This could explain the rise of customisable buttons, so that users can perform more than one task through the device.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced a version of the Dash Button specifically to enable software developers to create cloud computing services. The AWS ‘Internet of Things’ button is based on the same technology as the Dash Button, but it is designed for developers to program their own functions in, beyond just ordering more products.

Amazon suggests you can program it to instantly call a cab, order a pizza, turn smart appliances on or off and post to Twitter. The device can be programmed to respond to different inputs, like a double-click or longer press.

Automated reordering

Although one click reordering buttons do make shoppers’ lives easier, shoppers still need to remember to reorder products. In the future, we expect to see many more ‘SMART’ connected devices that can create an effortless shopping experience through the ‘Internet of Things’. For example, we are already starting to see devices that instantly reorder products as supplies run low.

The ‘Internet of Things’ is likely to help make these devices more common place, but ultimately it could make them redundant as automated reordering technologies surpass one-click ordering.

Transformative technology        

Advancing technology is altering the way the industry operates, as well as the way shoppers purchase and interact with products and services. As technology continues to develop over time, shoppers’ ‘path to purchase’ will also change.

The businesses that utilise new and evolving technology to meet the changing needs of their shoppers will ultimately be better placed to win in the future, and one-click ordering buttons is just one of the many innovative opportunities to test to see if your brand can build loyalty with shoppers.

Do you want to hear about the latest digital innovations in retail to make online shopping more engaging?  Attend IGD’s Online and Digital Summit to hear from and network with the world’s leading retailers and manufacturers, to help your business develop a winning commercial strategy for the online channel.