First there were talks of drones. Now, there's anticipatory shipping.
Amazon wants to be the one place you buy your goods, and it also wants to win at the delivery speed race. Amazon has just launched a patent for something the company is calling 'anticipatory shipping,' and that means getting packages before you even order any item.
Here's the scoop.
Amazon's Anticipatory Shipping
In order to make sure that Amazon customers have what they need quickly, Amazon has decided to pre-ship certain items to warehouses. The items chose will be based on what consumers in a particular area usually buy from Amazon, and how long users look at items on the Amazon website. It's all about user analytics, and it could be a really big gamble for Amazon.
Then again, sending out items to nearby warehouses is the fastest way to deliver goods to consumers. Just think about it: would you order items from Amazon more often if you could get those items the same day? What if you could get items delivered to your doorstep before you even order them? That's what Amazon is working on next.
The company is seriously contemplating sending packages to consumer doorsteps before an item is ordered from the Amazon website. Hypothetically, you could spend a few days looking at various items on Amazon, hold your cursor over an item for a short period of time, and tell the Amazon bots that you are really contemplating this purchase.
Gathering up this information, Amazon would then send that item to your home. Once the package arrives on your doorstep, you can decide whether or not to pay for and keep the item or to return it. To some, this would be a dream come true - and one that's hard to pass up. To others, Amazon's assumption that you want an item just because you looked at it online is bothersome.
What would happen if you were looking at a very expensive item that later showed up on your doorstep? You may feel inclined to purchase the item on the spot, or you may be angry that Amazon taunted you with this item.
A Big Risk
Sending items to local warehouses to wait for consumer purchases is one thing, but sending packages to consumer homes hoping that they will purchase the item is another thing completely. It seems like a really big risk, but it's also a risk that Amazon seems willing to take. Some people might get mad at random boxes appearing on doorsteps. Other people may find Amazon's guesswork useful and helpful. Only time will tell.
What would you do if a package you didn't order showed up at your house? Would you keep that package or return it? What it if was something that you really wanted, or, worse, what if your teenager checked out an item on Amazon that you don't want to purchase? The potential for disaster is huge, but Amazon doesn't seem all that worried. The company is betting that most people will love getting the fastest packages possible.