Amazon and Innovation

What Happens When 1-Click Meets a Barcode?

by Elaine Schwartz    •    Apr 6, 2014    •    983 Views

It’s almost like 1-click and the barcode had a child.

1-click diminished the friction of an online purchase. Described in The Everything Store, it let Jeff Bezos increase revenue by making the purchase process easier. And, once Bezos got his US patent, competitors could not copy the innovation.

By contrast, using scanners with barcodes was an innovation that was supposed to spread since IBM was the originator. It was a natural for supermarkets. Keeping instantaneous track of inventory, moving the checkout faster, eliminating the price sticker on every item all meant land labor and capital could be used more efficiently. Predictably, others adopted it in stores, in factories, post office sorting facilities and libraries. The workplace was the one common denominator.

Now, Amazon is bringing the scanner to our homes.

With a home scanner that they call the Dash, Amazon is combining the benefits of 1-click and barcodes. Just scan the barcode on an almost empty milk container or use the Dash’s microphone and the item appears in your grocery list. Then, again minimizing friction, Amazon lets you “1-click” at your computer and have it delivered to your doorstep.

What happens when 1-click meets the barcode scanner? In product markets, the transaction cost decreases because of less friction and in factor markets, there is more productivity.

Sources and Resources: The media, at pcmag and wsj, for example, have been talking about the Dash. Meanwhile, at econlife, we have looked at one-click, Amazon Prime and barcodes.

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