- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 18, 2014

Amazon will soon begin shipping items to customers before they even order.

The online mega merchant plans to use “anticipatory shipping” to predict which items a customer is likely to buy and mail business packages before the checkout process is complete. Amazon has already received a patent for the technology.

How is Amazon able to predict what shoppers will buy before they click to order? The website tracks customer’s online search history, order history, shopping cart items and length of time spent on certain pages, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In the patent document, Amazon says delays between ordering and receiving purchases “may dissuade customers from buying items from online merchants.”

In an attempt to get customers to shop online more frequently, Amazon says it will box and ship products it expects customers in specific areas will want, based on their previous orders and other factors, but haven’t yet ordered. The packages could wait at shipping hubs or on trucks until the order is actually placed on the website.

The new patent comes in addition to Amazon’s plans to deliver smaller items via drones which would speed orders to customers within 30 minutes.

SEE ALSO: Delivery by drone: Amazon chief predicts aerial package drops by 2015

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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