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Amazon launches salvo at office supply giants with ‘smart shelf’

Amazon is officially letting businesses automatically reorder supplies.

Following a November 2019 announcement that it would introduce Dash Smart Shelf, a scale upon which businesses can stack basic office supplies such as sticky notes, copy paper, and disposable cups, Amazon is moving the solution out of pilot.

Dash Smart Shelf is now available to purchase for Amazon Business customers, as well as consumers. The device is a weight-sensing, Wi-Fi-enabled auto-replenishment scale designed to streamline restocking office supplies, breakroom products, and other business and home essentials. 

When placed on a flat surface, including wire and warehouse racks, Dash Smart Shelf can track inventory for commonly used products, which can be ordered in single or multiple quantities directly through an Amazon business or personal account. It also works with storage bins and containers.

This device represents a revival of Amazon’s Dash automated reordering hardware, which it phased out for consumers earlier in 2019. Amazon has continued to offer Dash software capabilities in partnership with smart appliance vendors such as Sears Kenmore.

More significantly, Amazon is directly entering turf already occupied by office supply giants Staples and Office Depot. Staples offers businesses an auto restock service, while Office Depot business customers have the option of a joining a supply subscription service. However, only Amazon is offering the ability to determine when reorders are needed based on smart inventory tracking – the other two services are based on timed deliveries.

According to Amazon, the four AAA batteries included with the device can last for two or more years, and an an optional power cable enables plug-in. Dash Smart Shelf is approximately one-inch-tall, and comes in three sizes – small (7” x 7”), medium (12” x 10”), and large (18” x 13”).

To set up Dash Smart Shelf, users connect the device to Wi-Fi with the Amazon Shopping app, and then log into their Amazon Business or personal account via the Amazon Shopping app to choose the product they want to reorder and customize their preferences. When it’s time to restock, Dash Smart Shelf can perform one of two functions - it can place a replenishment order automatically, or it can send a notification when supplies are running low. 

Users can also check on stock levels any time through the Amazon Shopping app. Dash Smart Shelf’s smart reordering technology is designed to prevent accidental reorders when they temporarily move or remove items from their device. Users can also change the products, sizes, flavors, and more for items replenished from their Amazon Business account in the Amazon Shopping app. Amazon will offer ongoing discounts on a range of products if they are selected for automatic replenishment.

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