One of the drawbacks of buying something over the internet is that it takes time to arrive. Amazon have decided that this gap between placing an order and receiving the product is too long. The company has recently been granted a patent for a system it calls “anticipatory shipping”. Essentially, it will begin shipping goods before anyone buys them.
To do this, Amazon plans to box and store products it thinks people will want in localised hubs. These hubs will be stocked according to their database of customer behaviour and shipping records. It will also analyse product searches, shopping cart contents, wish lists, returned goods, and even how long a cursor hovers over a particular link.
In more extreme cases, it intends to partially fill in addresses on packages. With the rest of the information completed in transit.
Amazon already promises same day or overnight delivery to locations within the US, and isn’t too shabby when it comes to shipping overseas either. Whether this system will dramatically reduce delivery times is unknown; the patent itself doesn’t specify how much time is saved either. The Wall Street Journal, who made the discover about the patent, isn’t even sure if the system will be deployed at any point.
However, it is an indication of how companies with large customer databases intend to leverage that into better services. Although people might not be too happy about companies digging up their histories and shipping things they don’t want to their houses.
[Source: Wall Street Journal]