Amazon Patents ‘Anticipatory Shipping’ Of Your Stuff Before You Buy It
Amazon is calling it “anticipatory shipping”, and the company just landed a patent for it. Simply put, Amazon will pack up items before anything is ordered, ship them to a general geographic region, and not specify the exact address until it’s already in transit.
We can see this being a smart, relatively low-tech way to get deliver packages faster. Certainly there are many regular orders from customers that Amazon deals with every day, and further, it can’t be that hard to maintain a database of which products tend to be ordered with greater frequency in various regions.
For example, orders from a rural area will tend to look different than those from a densely populated urban area. And if a customer orders X number of the same widgets every month, after a while it would make sense for Amazon to anticipate that order and get it out the door and down the road so that by the time the customer actually makes the order, the package is nearly at the doorstep.
However anticipatory shipping shakes out in real-life applications, it certainly portends a less terrifying future than those octo-rotor drones Amazon’s been testing.