Online retail giant Amazon filed a patent last month on a new method called “anticipatory shipping” that would prepare orders for customers before they even make the purchase.
The method will box and ship products to certain areas and have them ready to go before an order is even made. Amazon believes it will significantly cut delivery times and hopefully keep customers from going to physical stores.
Anticipatory shipping relies on wishlists, previous searches, and even how long a user hovers their cursor over an item.
“It appears Amazon is taking advantage of their copious data,” analyst Sucharita Mulpuru told the Wall Street Journal. “Based on all the things they know about their customers they could predict demand based on a variety of factors.”
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The method should work well for popular and new items. Amazon might even begin suggesting items that are in a customer’s area already.
On the other hand, the method could result in pricey returns.
The patent says some items may have to be given away.
“Delivering the package to the given customer as a promotional gift may be used to build goodwill,” the patent said.