Amazon Could Start Shipping Parcels Before You Buy Them

by Dale Wright

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Amazon apparently understands its users so well that it wants to be able to ship customers’ packages – before they’ve actually ordered them.

Back in December, Amazon acquired a patent for ‘anticipatory package shipping’ to be able to begin the process of sending out an order before the customer has clicked to buy.  According to Amazon, the way that people shop online is changing and users don’t want to have to wait too long to get their orders.  Anticipatory shipping would mean that customers wouldn’t have to visit physical shops as often, if they needed an item urgently.

This sounds a little bit like an early April Fools’ joke, but it actually makes some sense.  Amazon would analyse customers’ spending habits in a specific area to make a guess at products that they would want to buy but haven’t already ordered.  These packages would then wait at a shippers’ hub until the order was placed.

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To figure out what products a certain customer would want, Amazon says it’s going to look at what they’ve previously ordered, what they’ve searched for but not bought, items they’ve added to a wish list or to their shopping cart, and even how long they spend looking at a product online.  For example, if a user has already bought every novel in a series so far, Amazon might send out the newest title as soon as it’s released.

Amazon’s been having a big drive recently to cut down customers’ shipping times.  Back in December, the retailer announced its Amazon Prime Air service – flying drones that would be able to ship users’ packages within half an hour of ordering.  These drones won’t be in place until 2015, and it’s likely that we won’t see this anticipatory shipping for a few years either.  However, it seems that the future of online shopping could change dramatically in coming years – just watch this space.