If free two-day shipping for Amazon Prime subscribers may be too slow for you, Amazon may be able to deliver packages faster by anticipating orders in the future. Applying a similar strategy to what Google uses to anticipate information you may want and delivering it to you before you even request it, Amazon will be anticipating user orders and shipping those orders even before the order is even created.
In a new patent filing for “anticipatory shipping,” Amazon hopes that it will get orders even more timely and can deliver goods to customers even before rivals can get to those customers.
Based on your searches and what you had purchased on Amazon along with wish lists and other tracking mechanisms, Amazon will begin packaging merchandise and shipping it to you even before you hit the 1-Click shopping on the e-retailer’s website.
Don’t worry, though, you won’t find packages left on your doorsteps if you didn’t order them. Likely, those packages will arrive in local hubs and then from there will get delivered more quickly to your doors once you hit the order button.
“According to the patent, the packages could wait at the shippers’ hubs or on trucks until an order arrives,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
Tracking a user’s online activity to anticipate their needs is something that Google developed with Google Now, the Internet search giant’s digital assistant on Android. By scanning a user’s Gmail, search and browser history, and tapping into other Google properties such as Maps and YouTube, Google is able deliver relevant news, updates, package tracking, airline ticket information, and more to users without the user having to search their phones.
However, in some cases, Amazon may just ship those items directly to you, and per the patent, the company says that this will help it “build goodwill” when you didn’t order the item and it still gets sent to you. In this case, Amazon says the item will be treated as a “gift” from Amazon to the customer.
Right now, though, this is just part of Amazon’s patent and it’s unclear if the Google Now-like approach will ever get materialized. It’s the latest way that Amazon is trying to re-envision online commerce. The company previously announced that it was working on drones to drop off packages to user’s doorsteps.
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