Expanding Convenient Reordering to More Device Types with New Usage Sensors (Coming Soon)

Ben Grossman Sep 24, 2020
Dash Replenishment Service Connected Devices Smart Home News

Last year, we enabled developers to offer convenient reordering through Alexa on devices such as smart sensors and printers with the launch of the Alexa.InventoryLevelSensor capability. Millions of Alexa connected devices already use it to offer convenient reordering, letting customers know when they are running low and making it easy for them to restock. Since then, we have further simplified the experience by enabling customers to learn about their supplies through notifications on their Echo devices, and subsequently place an order right away through voice. We also expanded convenient reordering through the Level sensor in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. We continue to add features that make customers’ lives easier and your devices smarter when connected to Alexa. Today, we are excited to announce a new Alexa capability - Alexa.InventoryUsageSensor, that enables additional device types to offer convenient reordering, such as coffee machines (coffee pods/beans), dishwashers (detergents), washing machines (detergents), paper-towel dispensers, pet food dispensers, and more.

With Alexa.InventoryUsageSensor, you simply report the consumption events via Smart Home API and Alexa will do the rest. Alexa keeps track of the inventory in the cloud and based on customer’s settings, Alexa will notify customers when supplies are running low or automatically reorder them.  For example, coffee machine developers just need to let Alexa know how many coffee-pods their device has consumed to enable convenient reordering. As a Developer, you can also earn recurring revenue from each device when customers reorder supplies, through both low-supply notifications and when smart reorders are placed.

GE Appliances, LG, Samsung, Home Connect, and more developers are already integrating with Alexa.InventoryUsageSensor to enable convenient reordering on their portfolio of devices. Developers in the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Japan will be able to use the Alexa.InventoryUsageSensor capability.


Now Add Convenient Reordering to More Device Types

Devices come in all shapes and sizes, so we have designed different types of inventory sensors to best support your device experience. You can use the new Alexa.InventoryUsageSensor to enable convenient reordering for devices that measure or estimate the amount of supplies that were consumed. For example, a dishwasher can report that a detergent pod was used when the dishwasher is run, a coffee machine can report the amount of coffee beans used when coffee is brewed, etc. Alternatively, devices that store the consumable internally and can measure the remaining amount in the installed inventory can use InventoryLevelSensor capability. For example, a printer that can measure the installed ink level or a motion sensor that can measure its battery level.

Make Reordering Simple for Customers

When you integrate with Alexa.InventoryUsageSensor, Alexa will help customers manage their household supplies. Alexa keeps track of customers’ inventory based on the consumption information you provide using the Inventory Sensor and customer orders placed on Amazon. Alexa can let customers know when they are running low on supplies through both email and voice notifications on their Echo devices. Customers can easily place an order directly from the low-supply notification, as shown below. Customers can also sign up for smart reordering in the Alexa app.

“Our goal is to support our Home Connect consumers in their daily life and offer a wide range of possibilities and services. We’re excited to do this by offering our consumers the flexibility to manage supplies for their connected dishwashers. With Alexa they can now also be reminded and get a notification on an Echo device, for example, when dishwasher tabs become low – to never run out of stock” said Daniel Johannisborg, Head of Partner Management at Home Connect.

When you integrate the InventoryUsageSensor, your customers will receive notifications from Alexa when your device records low supplies:

Integrate with Ease

You can easily enable convenient reordering on your devices via your Smart Home Skill API integration. Moreover, most of the work carries over to other regions, making it easy to for you to offer convenient reordering to customers across the world. “As the first-to-market partner to Amazon Dash Replenishment in 2016, Brother remains committed as an innovation leader in Technology in the Smart Home/office space. We’re pleased that Amazon continues to push technology boundaries to make it easy for us as a manufacturer to offer convenient reordering through Alexa, making it easier for Brother printer customers to automatically receive high-quality Brother Ink and Toner before they run out”, said Phil Lubell, Vice President of Marketing, Brother International Inc.

To integrate the new Usage sensor, you just need to define it in the Alexa.Discovery interface and report consumption events using the InventoryConsumed event. Amazon provides the customer set-up experience in the Alexa app, keeps track of the inventory in the cloud, and helps customers reorder supplies as needed. Amazon will also work with you to select the consumable products that are compatible with your devices and can be reordered when supplies run low. “Enabling convenient reordering with our SmartHQ connected appliances on our existing Alexa Smart Home Skill accelerated our development time,” said Jared Hatfield, Principal Cloud Architect on the GE Appliances SmartHQ Cloud team. “What would normally take us weeks to implement we were able to do in a matter of days. Convenient reordering is a natural extension of what Alexa already provides with our products and will allow us to continue to enhance our integrations with our smart appliances.”


Earn Recurring Revenue in the Process

Enabling convenient reordering in your Smart Home Skill with the Usage or Level sensors creates an opportunity for you, as the developer, to monetize your connected devices by creating a recurring revenue stream. You can choose to sell consumables that you manufacture specifically for your devices, such as your coffee pods for your coffee machines. Alternatively, you can sell any third party consumable product that is compatible with your device and earn a referral fee. This creates new opportunities for you to monetize your devices and grow your business. For example, a washing machine that offers third-party detergent pods could enable you as a developer to earn a one-time referral fee when customers place their first smart reorder. You will also earn revenue for all subsequent smart reorders and manual orders placed through notifications.


Start Integrating Today

You can start integrating and testing the Usage sensor today by creating a device with reordering capabilities in the Dash Replenishment developer console.  You can also sign up here to be notified when the feature is generally available for customers later this year. For more information about convenient reordering, check out the following resources: