Never one to stop thinking about new ways to deliver online purchases to your door, has another ambitious idea that could speed up its shipping process even more.

amazon-full111First spotted by the Wall Street Journal, the Seattle online giant was granted a patent last month that outlines a “method and system for anticipatory package shipping.” In simple terms, Amazon is thinking about predicting and packaging what you buy even before you make the purchase online.

In the patent, Amazon notes that it will use several data points — from past purchases to wish lists to even how long you’ve been hovering over certain links — that will help the company predict orders. Amazon could also predict what you want based on just-released products that share similarities with other items you’ve bought.

“For example, a newly released novel in a series may reasonably be predicted to have a similar demand profile to the last novel in the series,” the patent reads.

The pre-packaged goods could be then prepared and would wait at a warehouse until a customer actually orders it. The patent also implies that some items could include partial addresses and be stored at a regional hub close to the potential buyer.

Though “anticipatory shipping,” is only an idea at this point, it certainly points to Amazon’s mission of reducing the amount of time between clicking “buy,” on its site and having a product actually arrive to customers.

Here’s a diagram outlining Amazon’s new idea:


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  • Craig

    This is patentable!? Sigh.

  • Viet Nguyen

    What? Aerial drones should be dropping stuff off to me that I didn’t yet even know I wanted. Kind of like in the Hunger Games.

  • Chris

    This was originally filed almost a decade ago.

  • Todd Bishop

    I knew this sounded familiar …

  • barryhurd

    The fact that this was granted a patent is an example of how broken our patent system is.

    Every business with a local presence and an inventory uses ‘anticipatory shipping’ – they order inventory, send it to a store where there are nearby customers, and wait for those customers to order it.

    Congrats to the U.S. Patent Office for issuing it. I’m glad SEARS and some of the first mail order companies that created local stores are just kicking themselves now. LoL.

    It will be awesome when Amazon lawyers start patent trolling to prevent local stores from stocking inventory to ship to potential customers.

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