Amazon Files Patent for 'Anticipatory' Shipping

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) is determined to become the world's fastest package shipper as their latest venture will ship packages before being ordered. 

The online giant filed a patent for "anticipatory package shipping," a system that predicts what a customer will buy and sends items to the closest warehouse near that shopper's shipping address. The goal of the system is to send items to shipping hubs in areas where it believes they will sell well, which leads to shorter delivery times.

The patent filing is Amazon's latest move to expedite its shipping services. Most recently, the company revealed that it is testing flying drones which can make a delivery in the same amount of time it'd take for Papa John's to deliver a pizza. The aerial gadgets, called octocopters, will be able to transport packages 5 pounds or less within a 10-mile radius of an Amazon fulfillment center and could become a reality by December 2015.

It's unclear when Amazon will launch its psychic shipping system since the patent was just filed last month. According to the filing, Amazon will base its package predictions on customer data such as previous orders, product searches, wish lists, shopping cart contents, returns and other online shopping practices. Shoppers who linger over an item with their mouse cursor may also attract Amazon's attention.

Amazon says that the time it takes to deliver a product ordered online "may dissuade customers from buying items from online merchants." Under the anticipatory package shipping system, however, the packages could wait at the shippers' hubs or on trucks that are closer to a customer's delivery address.

"It appears Amazon is taking advantage of their copious data," Sucharita Mulpuru, a Forrester Research analyst, 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."

For more see:
-This Wall Street Journal article

Related stories:
Amazon Tests Flying Robots for Same-Day Package Delivery
Amazon Offers Sunday Delivery with U.S. Postal Service
Amazon Increases Free Shipping Minimum to $35
Why Amazon Prime Air is a Bunch of Hot Air
Should Amazon Take Over its Delivery?