Amazon knows what you want. So well in fact, that they intend to start shipping before you even place your order. In December 2013, the Seattle-based retailer took out a patent on the idea of shipping out goods before an order has even been placed. Items will be shipped based on previous orders, viewing history and other factors.
The idea is to remove the fear of important deliveries arriving late due to being shipped from a distance, encouraging online shopping; specifically from Amazon whilst also discouraging them from visiting physical stores.
This new formula for predicting orders to be placed could significantly reduce delivery time and greatly increase customer satisfaction. In the patent document for this formula, Amazon speaks of the delay between buying and receiving an item online and how it “may dissuade customers from buying items from online merchants”. The patent implies that items could wait to be shipped from the shipper’s trucks or storage hubs.
The patent shows different ways of deciding which items to be shipped to where, using factors from your wish list and search history to your returns and even how long you hover your cursor over products you view. All this is in a direct effort to cut down on delivery needs and to become the leader in a growing trend among businesses; to identify and meet consumer needs before even the consumer themselves do.
Amazon have added next day delivery recently by expanding on their warehouse network and also, in 2013, announced that they would be using unmanned drones to ship out packages in order to decrease delivery time by taking small packages directly from warehouses to the consumer’s door. In the patent, Amazon create the idea of filling out partial addresses or ZIP Codes, and using this to keep the item closer to the potential purchaser, with the rest of the label being filled out in transit.
It is unclear whether or not this new delivery tactic has or will been deployed, as no further comment has been made, but what it does is it shows just one way which Amazon is willing to manipulate their vast knowledge of their customers in order to leap ahead of competition.
However, the algorithms is not without flaws and in times of error the patent states that customers may be given discounts, or even receive the package as a gift in order to build strong customer-client relationships.
What are your thoughts of Amazon’s latest efforts to stay ahead of the competition? Let us know @4pm