Amazon plans to ship customers' packages before they even order them
A patent filed by the e-commerce giant last December reveals the plan for 'anticipatory shipping' - using big data to predict what customers will buy
Late last year Amazon created headlines the world over by announcing plans to deliver by drone. Now, this looks like child’s play compared to its new ambition: sending you your packages before you even buy them.
The retailer giant calls this “anticipatory shipping” and in a patent granted last December outlined how the method could further slim down its already impressively-small gap between receiving an order and delivering it to a customer’s house.
By analysing a wealth of user data including wish-lists, shopping cart contents, previous orders and even how long a mouse cursor pauses over an item, Amazon is confident it could figure out what you’re going to buy before you do.
Items that had been successfully identified would then begin to star down Amazon’s shipping process and may even be “speculatively shipped to a physical address”. The patent also details how partial addresses might be used to get an item closer to a customer, with the exact location provided later in transit.
The patent – first spotted by The Wall Street Journal – acknowledges that “anticipatory shipping” might have a number of teething problems. Not least of all would be shipping a customer something that they decide not to order.
In these scenarios Amazon has said that they might consider giving customers discounts or the items, or even simply giving it to them for nothing. “Delivering the package to the given customer as a promotional gift may be used to build goodwill,” the patent reads.
Although the scheme sounds slightly far-fetched, it chimes with a growing trend amongst technology companies to leverage vast sets of user-data in predicting future action.
Google’s autocomplete feature on its search bar is one of the more well-known examples, but as companies take in more and more data from customers, these predictions will become increasingly accurate. Oddly enough, you’re more likely to get shipped a package you haven’t ordered yet than you are to have that same package delivered by drone.
Life & Style blogs
Airline food across the classes: Ever wondered what the other half are eating?
Coachella Festival 2015: from Kendall Jenner to Alexa Chung, stars and festival-goers parade their boho best
The onesie is so last year... meet the Sleepwalker
What do the emoji on Snapchat mean?
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£30000 - £36000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: C# Developer A highly s...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A market leading software...