I do not know what took me to buy a Amazon Dash Smart Shelf, but it happened towards the end of 2020, and 2020 has been a very strange year. On November 25, I ordered the $ 20 “auto-replenishment schedule” – large – and by December 1 it had arrived. In a customer support email, Amazon urged me to start with the Smart Shelf i.e. Amazon wanted me to shop.
The great thing about the Amazon Dash smart shelf is that you don’t do groceries. Like all Amazon Dash products, which are related to the company Dashboard replenishment service (DRS for short) the shelf is supposed to be smart enough to know when you’re running out of anything you might find on Amazon. It detects when the load gets too light and automatically turns back on without you having to do anything. In October 2020, after nearly a year of testing the Dash Smart Shelf with the help of small and medium enterprises, Amazon has made it available to all of its customers.
Here’s Amazon’s vision for our future of interface-less shopping: you don’t even have to breathe a sigh near a Alexa speaker or tap a trash bag dongle. Your devices just know. The Dash Shelf is like an empty Amazon warehouse shelf, begging to be restocked; only then is it in your office. Or your house. Or your home office.
The Dash Smart Shelf assumes a lot. Its purpose is to replenish non-durable products – items like printer paper or pet food. So this assumes that you want this product to appear on your doorstep regularly. But it also defaults to the same product over and over again, and it doesn’t necessarily look for the best deal. In the world of Amazon, the convenience is so delicious that you don’t care to peek at the menu, let alone the shock when the bill arrives. (What does this say about those who assume?)
The Dash Smart Shelf comes in three sizes: small (7 by 7 inches), medium (12 by 10), and large (18 by 13). Interestingly, each shelf costs $ 20, regardless of its size. Still, it’s cheap. It’s so cheap, it’s hard to call it a standard gadget review. Should you buy one? Sure why not! Should you really, although? That is the question.
There isn’t much to say about the hardware. It’s a flat black plastic scale that comes with four AAA batteries, which should last about two years. My editor is probably annoyed that he has already spent so many words describing it. (Ed. Note: Continue, Lauren.)
The full size Smart Shelf takes up about half of a shelf in my linen closet, where I decided it should live. It relies on a few different signals to determine if you need more products that have been invisibly rearranged. Amazon learns from your reorganization habits over time, so it starts to anticipate when you might need more. But the main signal that the Smart Shelf uses is weight. Once you’ve determined which consumer good you’re going to store on the smart shelf, Amazon notes its weight, and when the load drops past a certain point, a new order is placed.