Not only does Amazon want to introduce shipping drones that’ll fly your package straight to your front door, they also want to start sending out your stuff BEFORE you buy it…whether you wanted it or not.
Back in December, Amazon patented “anticipatory package shipping,” which will “box and ship products it expects customers in a specific area will want (based on previous orders) but haven’t ordered; the packages themselves will wait at ‘shippers’ hubs’ or on trucks until an order arrives.”
How’s that going to happen? According to The Wall Street Journal, “Amazon says they may consider a customer’s previous orders, searches, wish lists, shopping-cart contents, returns and even how long an user’s cursor hovers over an item.” (Emphasis ours.)
Ooookay…the patent THEN goes on to say that “Amazon may fill out partial street addresses or zip codes to get items closer to where customers need them, and later complete the label in transit, the company said. For large apartment buildings, “a package without addressee information may be speculatively shipped to a physical address … having a number of tenants.”
But what happens if they get it wrong, and you don’t actually end up ordering what they think you’re going to order? The company says they’ll be offering to give customers discounts on those pre-sent items or even give them to customers outright. Like the patent says, “Delivering the package to the given customer as a promotional gift may be used to build goodwill,” and I’m into that.
That being said, Amazon hasn’t estimated how successful anticipatory package shipping will be. I get that they’re trying hard to satisfy every customer and busting their nuts to cut down delivery times, but truth be told, as a longtime Prime customer, I don’t mind waiting two days to get my stuff or paying the extra $4 to have it sent to me the next day.
To be completely honest, I can’t EVER think of a time where I’ve needed something before I thought of it – but the thought of a giant box of cereal waiting for me at my front door does make me giggle.
For more information, you can check out the full details of the patent filed to the US Patent and Trademark Office here. Sounds like Amazon is continuing to defy expectations…but we’ll see if any of this actually comes to pass.
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