Spotted by the Wall Street Journal, the patent illustrated a proposed shipment system that will deploy goods to specific geographical areas, based on past sales and other parameters. If a customer in that area places an order that matches a nearby package (temporarily stored at shipper's hubs or trucks), it will be redirected to the final destination. Amazon's Anticipatory Package Shipping patent is aimed to reduce the time taken to deliver a package, and doesn't mean that packages will start showing up at the doorstep unannounced.
The reason why we say that the idea is an interesting one, is because it will enable the e-commerce giant to not just anticipate the need for certain products but also help understand trends in e-commerce and online shopping better. It will also allow Amazon to be prepared to handle bulk volumes of products especially during holiday seasons across the globe.
With the concept, Amazon won't anticipatorily ship items ahead of time in the absence of clear demand for the product. To assess that demand, factors like a customer's previous orders, product searches, wish lists, returns and shopping cart data would all be taken into account. Shoppers who linger over an item may also attract Amazon's attention.
The news comes close on the heels of the announcement and unveiling of the Amazon Prime Air, a fleet of delivery drones, shown by CEO Jeff Bezos on '60 Minutes', in December 2013. However, according to both industry reports and Amazon itself, the drone delivery service can't be expected to be made available in less than four to five years.