Amazon Could Ship Your Next Purchase Before You Even Order It

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now!
2 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Amazon is singlehandedly accelerating our transition into a sci-fi future. First came news of the drones, and now, there's a real possibility that the retail company may start shipping your purchases before you click "buy."

The Wall Street Journal reported that in December, Amazon received a patent for "anticipatory shipping," a system whereby the company forecasts your next order and sends it to a warehouse near you before you actually hit that purchase button. The idea is that the goods will get to you sooner when you do formally place your order.

While the retail company has simply gained a patent -- there is no guarantee that Amazon will actually use it -- the idea that Amazon knows us well enough to accurately guess what we'll buy next doesn't seem that outlandish.

Related: Not Science Fiction: Amazon Is Working on a Drone-Powered Delivery System

Amazon, after all, has a wealth of data on customers and their buying habits. In choosing what to ship, Amazon can consider your previous orders and searches, what's in your shopping cart and even how long your cursor hovers over a particular item. (Amazon's current predictions about what I'll be interested in are already eerily accurate).

In the patent, the retail company outlined potential plans to partially fill in addresses with zip codes to get items closer to customers, completing the labels in transit as the purchases are confirmed. "Anticipatory shipping" could work well for popular items like newly released best sellers (allowing the retail company to provide the book the day it is released, discouraging customers from going to a brick-and-mortar store instead).

And while some predictions would inevitably misfire, Amazon said it could use tactics such as suggesting shipped items to customers, offering discounts and turning unwanted orders into "goodwill" gifts in order to prevent costly returns.

Related: What Shoppers Still Won't Buy on Amazon (Infographic)

 

 

 

More from Entrepreneur
Our Franchise Advisors will guide you through the entire franchising process, for FREE!
  1. Book a one-on-one session with a Franchise Advisor
  2. Take a survey about your needs & goals
  3. Find your ideal franchise
  4. Learn about that franchise
  5. Meet the franchisor
  6. Receive the best business resources
Discover the franchise that’s right for you by answering some quick questions about
  • Which industry you’re interested in
  • Why you want to buy a franchise
  • What your financial needs are
  • Where you’re located
  • And more
Make sure you’re covered for physical injuries or property damage that occur at work by
  • Providing us with basic information about your business
  • Verifying details about your business with one of our specialists
  • Speaking with an agent who is specifically suited to insure your business

Latest on Entrepreneur