updated 06:34 pm EST, Sun January 19, 2014
Anticipatory shipping patent directs products to customers mid-delivery
Amazon may start shipping items to customers before an order is completed in the future, if a recently-granted patent is anything to go by. The patent by the retailer for a "Method and system for anticipatory package shipping" was granted on Christmas Eve, with the proposed system potentially lowering the delivery times for customer orders.
The filing explains that Amazon could decide on items to ship to specific locations based on a number of metrics, such as previous orders in a region, product searches, and times spent by users on a product page, reports the Wall Street Journal. Amazon would box and ship predicted items to shipment hubs in certain areas, though not applying a final customer address sticker to the box until an order is completed.
Pre-sending orders is only one way that Amazon is looking towards speeding up deliveries to customers. In recent months, it has expanded its AmazonFresh same-day grocery delivery service to San Francisco, and showed a possible drone-based delivery system. After Christmas, the retailer revealed it had added another million subscribers to its Prime delivery service in just the third week of December alone.