Convenient or Dangerous?: The “One-Click Wonders” of Online Retail

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Oct 11, 2018
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Budgeting, Current Events, Behavioral Finance

Online retailers are finding shorter and simpler ways to reach shoppers’ hearts and wallets.  By reducing the number of steps required to place an order, Amazon, Domino’s, and others are hoping to boost their sales by making your life easier.  The ultimate consumer convenience, these new “one-click wonders,” could be dangerous to the financial health of those with weak impulse control.  

One such “one-click wonder” is the Amazon Dash Button, which promises to “make ordering easier” for Prime Members by decreasing or even eliminating trips to the store to buy household items. Members simply pay a $4.99 installation fee, and they’ll be reimbursed that amount after their first purchase using the button. Convenience comes at a cost, and while Dash Button users’ shelves may be constantly stocked with necessary household items, it’s unlikely they’ll see the fluctuating prices of those products unless they go through their purchase history.

Oh, and it also takes a nine step process to set up your Dash Button:

It’s also noteworthy that Snapchat is beta testing a new feature that will allow users to “point the app’s camera at an item and quickly find it on Amazon and buy it straight from the social-messaging app” (CNBC). This will likely enable teens and young adults to spend even more since the step of manually searching for an item before purchasing it will be eliminated.

Surprisingly enough, the food industry upped the ante on the “one-click wonder” market when Domino’s released its “Zero-Click” Buyer Experience. Domino’s Group CEO and Managing Director Don Meij noted, “The introduction of zero-click ordering is yet another innovation making order easier… we’ve been crunching down the time it takes to order – giving our customers back their time” (CMO).

Wondering how "Zero-Click" works? From TechCrunch:

"In this case, 'zero-click' means just what you think. The new app doesn’t require any input at all, beyond your initial sign-in the first time you use it. Instead, you simply launch the app when you want pizza. And then…Yeah, that’s it. Pizza comes. To be clear, simply launching the app doesn’t immediately place the order.

To stave off accidental clicks, there’s a 10-second countdown that first displays. However, if you don’t push the button to stop the timer, your order is placed with your local delivery chain. A screen then appears with your order confirmation."

So is this convenient or potentially dangerous to consumers’ wallets? I know that I’ve done my fair share of accidental dialing. Could you imagine unintentionally ordering pizza?

As the consumer landscape evolves, face-to-face interactions are decreasing as more and more stores shift to offer delivery services. Shoppers don’t even have to leave the house to buy groceries anymore! So, is it worth it to have products—whether they’re needs or wants—just a click away?

Questions:

  • Have you ever used any of these one-click or zero-click shopping methods? Did you ever experience regret from these purchases? 
  • Amazon Dash buttons are limited to one brand’s product (i.e. Brawn paper towels) and can be a cumbersome process to set up? Do you think these will be popular with consumers? 
  • How much of your shopping do you do online vs. at a "brick and mortar" store? Are there certain things you buy only online or at physical stores? Explain.
  • Where do you see the future of shopping going? What role do you think physical stores have in a world where more is happening online?

Looking for a way to engage your students further in conversations about budgeting? Teachers really enjoy NGPF's Budgeting Activity, COMPARE: Needs vs. Wants.

About the Author

Danielle Bautista

Danielle is a native of Southern California and a recent graduate from the University of Maine, where she braved the frigid winters—a feat in and of itself—and earned her Bachelor's degree in International Affairs. She has a passion for working with non-profit organizations and serving populations in underprivileged communities. When Danielle isn't writing NGPF blog posts, spearheading various outreach projects, or managing contests and flash surveys, you can find her doing some sort of outdoor activity, learning a new hobby, or cracking what she thinks are witty puns!