Drawing on its massive store of customer data, Amazon plans on shipping you items it thinks you'll like before you click the purchase button. The company today gained a new patent for "anticipatory shipping," a system that allows Amazon to send items to shipping hubs in areas where it believes said item will sell well. This new scheme will potentially cut delivery times down, and put the online vendor ahead of its real-world counterparts.
Amazon knows what you like before you like it
Amazon plans to box and ship products it expects customers to buy preemptively, based on previous searches and purchases, wish lists, and how long the user's cursor hovers over an item online. The company may even go so far as to load products onto trucks and have them "speculatively shipped to a physical address" without having a full addressee. Such a scenario might lead to unwanted deliveries and even returns, but Amazon seems willing to take the hit, stating in the patent, "Delivering the package to the given customer as a promotional gift may be used to build goodwill." Interestingly enough, this mode of shipping was predicted in a 2012 BuzzFeed short story — except it didn't work so well in that particular instance.
It's unclear when Amazon plans on launching this new initiative, but the patent's ambition does jibe with its other efforts to cut down delivery time — such as delivering packages on Sunday and even the drone concept it's currently developing.