Amazon is in the process of predicting what you will buy and then ship it before you even click the ‘add to cart’ button. However, this is not such a new concept. Amazon and other large retailers have been moving, and returning, inventory where demand is anticipated for years. In efforts to discourage shoppers from going into physical stores to purchase the same items offered at the .com giant, Amazon is planning to use shoppers’ data (even further than before) to determine items they are likely to purchase. Amazon would take into account a customer’s past purchase history, saved items, and even how long a user hovered over a link, to predict what the customer would most likely buy. Currently, Amazon uses similar data to suggest similar products and send marketing emails. This new plan takes predicting consumer behavior a step further by shipping it closer to the customer before purchase. Essentially, Amazon is moving inventory to cut delivery time to compete and save themselves money on shipping
The Wall Street Journal first reported on Amazon’s patent that outlines their plan for this “anticipatory shipping.” Predicted products would remain at a shipping hub, or on a delivery truck, near customers before actually delivering to the consumer’s doorstep. There is a misunderstanding that this service would send products directly to customers’ homes before they purchased the item; however, that is not the case. Once ordered, the article is shipped from the nearby hub or truck where held; cutting delivery time. With reducing the time from the click to purchase, to the delivery at the doorstep, this method of moving product aims to compete with brick and motor stores.
Another attempt in shortening delivery time was announced in 2013 through the use of drones. The unmanned crafts would deliver small packages (five pounds and less) from Amazon warehouses directly to the customer’s home by the year 2015.