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(Amazon.com)

Instant gratification has always been a key part of Amazon.com’s strategy. Hence one-click buying, free two-day delivery with Prime membership and the fledgling drone delivery program. Anything to cut the time and effort between wanting and having.

Toward that end, the world’s largest online retailer in March 2015 introduced Dash buttons, small stick-on physical buttons that allow reordering frequently used items, such as diapers or paper towels, with a single button press.

Thursday evening it took the buttons a step further, introducing digital Dash buttons.

Available only to Prime members, digital Dash buttons are small icons on the Amazon home page and mobile app that, like their physical counterparts, allow instant reordering of items. The genius behind them is that virtual buttons appear automatically for Prime-eligible items that you’ve frequently bought in the past — or that you may have bought only once but that other customers typically reorder often.

You can create virtual Dash buttons for any of the millions of Prime-eligible products sold on Amazon.com and can rearrange, add or delete buttons as desired. Orders ship free via Prime and can be cancelled within 30 minutes. Pressing on the white portion of the icon orders the item, while pressing anywhere else within the icon brings up information about it.

The virtual Dash buttons are no doubt intended to increase impulse purchasing, as they make it so simple to buy. Amazon has other programs for frequent buyers of commodity goods, such as Subscribe&Save, but virtual Dash buttons make it even easier to make impulsive purchases.

Amazon.com reported net sales of $32.7 billion in its third quarter ended Sept. 30, up 29 percent year over year. Net income was $252 million, compared to $79 million in the year-ago period. Fourth-quarter 2016 earnings are scheduled for announcement Feb. 2.

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