Amazon is planning to send packages to shoppers before they have ordered them.
It will use predictive demand analytics and has filed a patent for the system in the US.
It will use its customer database to predict which geographical areas it thinks will order certain products and send them to a local warehouse before the orders are actually received. During transit it expects to receive a specific address.
Its patent application says: “A method may include packaging one or more items as a package for eventual shipment to a delivery address, selecting a destination geographical area to which to ship the package, shipping the package to the destination geographical area without completely specifying the delivery address at time of shipment, and while the package is in transit, completely specifying the delivery address for the package.”
Amazon will use the program to work out which geographical areas have multiple addresses which are all likely to order a particular product. The patent says the system will choose areas when “said respective destination geographical areas include multiple delivery addresses to which said package is deliverable”.
While the packages are on their way, the system will expect to receive an order for one or more of them and divert the parcels straight to the customer’s address.
Amazon will use two computer systems to make this happen. The patent says: “A system is further contemplated that in one embodiment may include a first and a second computer system.”
The first computer system will be used to identify a destination area to ship a package to, which will include “one or more items that are destined for eventual shipment to a delivery address”.
The patent adds: “The second computer system may be configured to communicate with the first computer system via a network. After the package has been shipped to the destination geographical area without the delivery address being completely specified at time of shipment, the first computer system may convey a complete specification of the delivery address to the second computer system. In response to receiving the complete specification of the delivery address, the second computer system may assign the delivery address to the package.”