Amazon Dash button
Amazon Dash buttons let you order household goods with a single pressAmazon

Surprisingly not an April Fools story, Amazon has announced a range of convenient stick-on buttons which order household goods with a single press.

Designed to be stuck to your washing machine to order new detergent, to the bathroom mirror for ordering more shaving foam, or on your fridge for requesting more bottled water, the gadgets, called Dash Buttons, are free and available to Amazon prime holders for a limited time only.

Invitation only and exclusive to US customers for now, the Dash Buttons are around the size of a car key fob and can be programmed by a smartphone app to automatically order a range of household items from Amazon, with next-day prime delivery. Items include toilet roll, nappies, cleaning products, water, bin bags and everything else we're all hopeless at remembering at the supermarket.

Each Wi-Fi-enabled button is branded with the company behind the product it's configured to order, making it easy to know which button will order what product. When you press the button a light turns green and an email notification is sent to your phone, and from there you can cancel it if the order was a mistake.

The buttons will only place one order at a time and won't request more products until the delivery has arrived - although you can turn this feature off, meaning every button press will result in another delivery.

The limited rollout suggests Amazon is merely dipping its toe into this new market of a simple household delivery system, but there's no reason why it couldn't take off and become much bigger - especially if the already-healthy range of brands sticks with it. Looking further ahead, Amazon has also announced the Dash Replenishment Service, which gives manufacturers a way of integrating an ordering system right into their products, such as coffee makers and washing machines.

Amazon has already partnered with a coffee maker by New York-based Quirky, which automatically orders new beans from Amazon when it senses it will soon run out. The announcement comes in the same week that Amazon launched Home Services, which allows customers to order professional services such as handymen or computer technician.