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Heineken becomes first booze brand to sign up to Amazon Dash

Heineken has become the first booze company to sign up to Amazon Dash to provide ‘beer at the touch of a button’, in a move that is likely to prompt others major drinks brands to follow suit, according to analysts.

Heineken partners with Amazon Dash to order beer at the tap of a button [image: Amazon]Amazon’s Dash buttons were launched in the US in 2015 to allow consumers to reorder a selection of well-known household brands at the touch of a wifi-connected button situated around the house, without going online. They rolled out in the UK in London last July, followed by Manchester and Edinburgh. The first tranche of product buttons included Nescafé, Ariel, Kleenex, Gillette and Rimmel but now booze has joined the Amazon line-up for the first time.

However it is not the only brand embracing new technology– rival brand Carling launched its own ‘beer button’ last September that synched directly to the top five UK’s retailer’s online grocery sites, and French drinks producer Pernod Ricard recently unveiled the revamped prototype of its at-home connected cocktail library, Opn (formerly known as the Gutenberg Project system), a more sophisticated way to enjoy, mix and reorder premium spirits at home which is expected to be made commercially available in early 2018.

Speaking at the time of the Carling button launch, parent company Molson Coors said it would boost brand loyalty among consumers and retailers by streamlining the customers’ online ordering process, as well as raising visibility of online ordering.

Nielsen UK’s analytic team leader Jon Sheppard told db the move was likely to attract other beer and potentially major wine brands as it gained momentum due to its convenience for consumers and the opportunity for producers to build brand loyalty, although he denied the move was a “game-changer”.

“More will follow suit, as we have seen in other grocery categories, and major brands across wines and spirits could do too,” he said. “I can’t imagine much of the volume will be incremental to the category as ultimately it is fulfilling demand which would have been bought elsewhere anyway, but it is something which is to keep an eye on.”

Amazon’s vice president of devices Jorrit Van der Meulen said customer feedback on Amazon Dash had been “hugely positive”, and that it had listened to customer calls for “more brands and more products across more retail categories” – but the e-commerce giant has not released overall sales figures, and there has been speculation that the value of the project lies less in its ability to shift volume and more in its ability to gather data on consumer habits for both Amazon and producers.

Spiros Malandrakis of Euromonitor said this was definitely an important element of the mix, adding that Amazon Dash was ideally suited to beer, which was more of a “commoditised product”.

“Beer brands are embracing technology coming their way as the only way to fight the slump in sales and the encroach of craft beers,” he told db. “There has been a sense of complacency in the major brewers over the last ten years and if they want to avoid that continuing, they have to be at the forefront of innovation. So it is definitely a step in the right direction, especially for a commoditised product.”

He added that although wine could fit the same bill, due to its own internal structure and more traditional approach, it was unlikely to go for it in order to avoid increasing commoditisation of the category, and was looking for other ways to innovate.

Other companies joining the latest UK roll-out include Dad’s Root Beer, coffee brands L’Or and Tassimo, Duracell, air freshener Glade, Mr. Muscle, and vitamins brands Wellwoman and Wellman.

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