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Just push the button!

Is there a lesson for banks in Amazon’a Dash Button?

Obvious and mediocre won’t be found here—but “Why didn’t I think of that?” will! Challenging the banking status quo is Dan “The Wombat” Fisher’s personal mission. Obvious and mediocre won’t be found here—but “Why didn’t I think of that?” will! Challenging the banking status quo is Dan “The Wombat” Fisher’s personal mission.

A week does not go by without running into a new and creative idea.

In our office, is pretty popular. Their innovation is focused on improving and simplifying the online shopping experience.

A recent innovation: The Dash Button!  

It makes buying fast and easy. Some say it is awesome. Others say fast and easy can mean too fast and too easy!

Amazon, with a Dash

A Dash Button is an automated reorder device that you can use to purchase popular products from Amazon. Furthermore it is real convenient to re-order just by pushing the button. How does it work? It is a colorful Wi-Fi device that has the product logo and a button that can be set up on your home network. The instructions are simple … get it, place it, configure it, then press it and get it.

Dash buttons come for laundry detergent, toilet paper, Gatorade©, razor blades, plastic bags, coffee, diapers, gum … in other words, just about anything. They are colorful and easy to use. You can set the laundry detergent button in the laundry room and when you realize you need more, just press the button and soon the product will be at your door.

Too much push?

Interestingly, you pay for the product, no problem.  You also have to purchase the Dash Button.  This is where simple can turn into a disaster.

Now, imagine junior getting into the pantry or the laundry room. He sees the button and starts playing with it. Don’t worry, the ordering system will send you a text message asking you to confirm the order before it is shipped. One way to look at it is that you know what junior is doing.

If you have a lot of these around the house, your kids can drive you crazy with text messages, by pushing all of your buttons, so to speak. Just to let you know they are home or that they want something, but it could be irritating!

The real issue, from our point of view, is pricing and shipping. If you are not a premium member of the online shopping program, the only audience who can make full use of Dash buttons, shipping can grow expensive. Furthermore, if you don’t pay attention to your text message, you may agree to the order at a price that is significantly higher than at your local retail store. Add shipping and this could be a problem.

As far as the Dash Button concept goes, nifty as it might seem, we think it’s going nowhere.

Inside the bank

What is the moral of this story? Buttons are cute, but convenience can be costly, in more ways than one. So, before you push the button of your CIO, CTO, or COO in a moment of urgency, give them an opportunity to think through and design the appropriate solution for you.

Then you can press the button all you want!

—The Wombat!

Dan Fisher

Dan Fisher is president and CEO of The Copper River Group, a consulting firm headquartered in Fargo, N. D., that focuses on technology and payment systems research and consulting for community financial institutions. For nearly 30 years, Fisher has worked in the financial industry using technology to improve the bottom line. He was CIO of Community First Bankshares (now part of Bank of the West), has served as a director of the Federal Reserve Board of Minneapolis, the chairman of the American Bankers Association Payment Systems Committee, and was a member of the Independent Community Bankers of America Payments Committee. Fisher has written numerous articles on banking technology and the payments system. He has authored or co-authored six books and recently published a book titled, "Capturing Your Customer! The New Technology of Remote Deposit." You can contact Fisher at [email protected] or at 701-293-6222.
P.S. To understand Dan's nickname, check out "About the Wombat" on his website.       

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