Amazon reveals plans for anticipatory shipping

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Site will customers’ buying habits to post items before payment.

By Sarah Blackman

Online retail giant Amazon.com says it knows its customers so well that it will start shipping items to their doors even before orders have been placed.

The company gained a patent last month for what it calls “anticipatory shipping”, a method to start delivering packages before shoppers click “buy”, reports the Wall Street Journal.

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Amazon hopes the method will cut delivery times and discourage consumers from shopping at physical stores. According to the WSJ, Amazon said it may consider customers’ previous orders, product searches, shopping-cart contents, returns and even how long an Internet user’s cursor hovers over an item when deciding what to ship out to them.

The news comes as the retailer tests unmanned drones to deliver goods to customers. Chief executive Jeff Bezos said in the December that the drones, called Octocopters, could deliver packages weighing up to 2.3kg to customers within 30 minutes of them placing an order.

The Seattle retailer has also announced that it will start Sunday deliveries in the UK for people who aren’t often at home to receive their parcels.

 

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