Amazon has added a new twist to online shopping with Amazon Dash, a hand-held scanner that adds groceries to your online shopping list.
The Dash is essentially a small barcode scanner, synced up via Wi-Fi to a home computer or smartphone; you can scan items to add them to a shopping list, or use a voice search function to trawl through a database of 500,000 items available on Amazon Fresh. Amazon Fresh is predominantly a grocery shopping service, available in San Francisco, Seattle and Southern California; it also sells items including electronics, household tools, DVDs and video games.
After scanning your items, you can then review them online or on your smartphone app. For orders over US$35, you get free delivery; Amazon’s even brave enough to promise same-day delivery for items that are ordered by 10am.
The future of online shopping is here
The Dash is available for free on an invite-only program for Amazon Fresh customers; there's currently no word on when the service will be rolled out globally, but Amazon's UK vice president has hinted that "international expansion" is on the cards.
Amazon's already a commercial juggernaut, with its fingers in everything from ebooks to streaming video, but its grocery offering is one of the smaller corners of its empire. That could be set to change, with Amazon Dash; and UK supermarkets will doubtless be watching developments over the pond with interest.