Amazon to Ship Items Before You Even Buy Them?

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has patented "anticipatory package shipping," a system that ships products before customers have actually bought them based on what it predicts they will buy. The goal of the system is to send items to shipping hubs in areas where it believes they will sell well which will potentially cut delivery times down.

Amazon plans to base its package predictions on factors 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.

According to the patent, 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."

It's unclear when Amazon will launch its anticipatory shipping system, which comes on the heels of of two other innovative package options, including delivering items on Sunday and by flying drones. The company has also opened a slew of new distribution centers to expand its warehouse network and enable the company to make overnight and even same-day deliveries.

For more see:
-This Wall Street Journal article

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