Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) Does It Again -- Whatever 'It' Is

I have no idea where Amazon.com, Inc.'s (AMZN) business is heading

Apr 2, 2015 at 2:26 PM
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I was really confused on Tuesday. Someone texted me and asked what I thought about the new button from Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN). I told them I didn't know what they were talking about. Considering I spend most of my day reading and writing about businesses, I figured if it were anything worth knowing, I would have heard of it. I was wrong.

I found out the Amazon Dash Button is a little button featuring a popular brand -- Gillette, Tide, Maxwell House, among others -- that you place somewhere, and whenever you're running low on one of that brand's products, you just -- pop -- press the little button, and more will be shipped to your house. Incredible? Yes! But not in the way Amazon would probably like.

What's truly incredible is that Amazon comes out with so many new products and ideas in such a short time span, it befuddles folks -- or maybe it's just me. When I was first searching the Internet for information about the Dash Button, several sites reported it was a possible April Fools' Day joke. And I said, "Oh, that makes sense." I believed those sites, because I checked Amazon's Investor Relations page, and there was no mention of the product. I checked other sources and there was no confirmation from the company anywhere. The button was so bizarre, it seemed made-up.

Yesterday, however, it seems an Amazon spokesperson finally realized, "We just came out with a new product, and no one believes it's real. This is bad. Maybe I should confirm its existence." So, Amazon let us know that the Dash Button is a real thing that actually exists in this dimension. Thank goodness! I can't tell you how many times I've been in a jam and needed my laundry detergent now. I'm sure you've been there, too. Let me put this differently: Could you imagine having to take time going to the store yourself to buy another Brita water filter, or sign into your AMZN account and search the item? Luckily, your water filters will now magically appear at your door. We haven't seen a triumph like this since the company revealed ITS NEW LINE OF DIAPERS.

Spoiler alert No. 1: If you're in someone's house that has a Dash Button, you should first question why you're friends with such a person. Second, you should know you can't just press the button for fun 425 times and watch as 425 packages of oatmeal get delivered to their house. I was upset -- and surprised -- when I realized Amazon had actually put some thought into this product. Each Dash ... user will set the delivery order settings on their cell phone. So even if you hit the oatmeal button 425 times, only one package of oatmeal will be delivered, if that's what your friend had arranged. Spoiler alert No. 2: I don't believe there's actually a Dash Button for oatmeal.

I don't mean to trash Amazon and its new product -- maybe people will love it since it expands the possibility of never leaving the house for anything, ever. Maybe it's one of those things that is so stupid, it's genius! But personally, Amazon's business model gives me a headache. It has a video-streaming service, it's an online marketplace, it bought video game-streaming service Twitch a while back, and also just came out with Amazon Home Services! (You can read about that yourself. I can't even get myself to explain it.) Yeah, it just came out with two completely different products in a two-day span. And if you were to ask consumers about the new services, probably 85% of them wouldn't have a clue what you were talking about. What's more, the firm is reportedly in talks to throw its hat in the fashion ring. Where this business is heading is anyone's guess. What will it look like in 20 years? By that time, it could be a biotech company, for all we know.

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos seems like a smart, innovative guy. I wouldn't be surprised in the least if he eventually has this company on a clear path to success. But right now, it seems as if AMZN is just releasing random products and hoping they work, without any clear direction or plan, from what I can tell. But hey, I guess it's worked so far? At least as far as the stock goes. The shares have added 19.5% in 2015, trading 0.2% higher today at $370.96.

Daily Chart of AMZN since January 2015
 

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