One of the more obvious traits of Apple Inc. is the company’s ability to succeed; to wring profit out a limited line of products. Other than Watch, no Apple product currently has a 50-percent marketshare, yet Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Watch managed to capture most of the profits in each industry segment.
Contrast that level of success with Amazon which, even though it’s the world’s largest online retailer whose presence is mostly in the U.S., struggles to make a profit and has conned investors into believing that money is being rolled back into the operation to grow the company.
Yet, here’s one area where Amazon succeeds where Apple does not. Failure.
Here’s the perfect example. Amazon’s Dash button. These are little electronic devices that will order products from Amazon when you press the button.
Sorry, folks. Apple doesn’t have anything quite that cool. Cool? Alright, it’s somewhat futuristic, and on the surface seem totally and wholly convenient. But true to Amazon’s form and history of throwing muddy products against the wall to see what sticks, the Dash buttons seem convenient but are more trouble than they’re worth.
That inconvenient truth about Dash buttons and their built-in proclivity for ordering products at a higher price point than you would pay at Walmart or Costco or Target hasn’t stopped Amazon from doubling down on the little buttons.
Soon there will be dozens of products, each with their own Dash button that you can scatter around the house; in the kitchen, in the bath room, in the garage, or anywhere you would normally store such products so that when you see you’re about to run out, just press the Dash button for that product and Amazon puts the order in for you.
Here’s the problem.
Amazon’s pricing mechanisms are as fluid as a certain presidential candidate’s on-the-fly policy changes. They’re both dynamic and change by the minute; sometimes more frequently. That means the bargain price you got by pressing the Dash button for Tide last month could cost you twice as much this month, and there’s no easy way to check the price before you order without negating the convenience of having the Dash button in the first place.
Most of the items I’ve seen with Dash buttons are Amazon Prime so shipping is a bargain, but the actually Dash button itself costs you $4.99, and the items I’ve seen on the Dash list are available at the aforementioned Walmart, Costco, and Target for the same or less (especially when on sale).
You don’t know what a product will cost unless, 1) you look first, 2) you check your credit card statement for Amazon purchases, 3) pay attention to your Amazon email. Yes, it’s easy enough to check prices but that defeats the purpose of having the Dash button. If Amazon would guarantee price matching and the lowest possible price with every purchase, that would be great.
This is a perfect example of where Apple’s long history of product discipline compares favorably to the very undisciplined approach to new products by companies like Amazon, Google and others, each of which tosses out new products that are barely ideas let alone something worth a purchase.