Can Amazon’s Dash Wand Make Delivering Groceries Mainstream?

With the internet, and growing same-day delivery infrastructure, grocery delivery services have gone from urban luxury to fairly common part of everyday life. That, in turn, means a war for your dollars between Amazon, Google, Instacart, and a host of other services — as they battle it out to deliver everything from cat litter to beer to your door. Now, Amazon — being Amazon — has decided to undercut the competition and sell you a neat toy while they’re at it.

The Dash Wand, surprisingly, is not an item in a video game, but rather a voice-activated “shopping assistant” and barcode scanner. You tell it what you need, scan the packaged stuff you probably shouldn’t eat but do eat anyway, and it shows up at your door the next morning, ready for you to load into your fridge. Or stuff directly into your face in the case of the Pop Tarts. Only God can judge us. They’re also essentially paying you to take one off their hands: It costs $20, but buying one gets you $20 on your Amazon Fresh account, and three free months of Amazon Fresh, which is $15 a month. In other words Amazon is giving you $65 in hopes that you will spend far more than that on Pop Tarts and genital cream.

It is undeniably neat, although considering Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa is still a work in progress, we do have to wonder what will happen when it mishears you and delivers a 9-karat diamond instead of nine carrots. There’s also the cost factor: Amazon Fresh is $15 a month, or $180 a year, and you need Prime on top of that, so it’s really $280 a year, although half of American households have a Prime membership anyway. How much are people truly willing to pay to skip the grocery store? Looks like Amazon is about to find out, for better or worse.

(via PC Mag