Amazon Could Be Sending You Items Before You've Even Bought Them

Jan 20, 2014 10:07 AM EST | Jordan Ecarma


In the near future, an Amazon drone could come to your door, carrying something you didn't even order but was on your wish list.

The online retailer has gained a patent for a practice called "anticipatory shipping," Gawker reported via The Verge.

Amazon can essentially read the customer's mind with collected data, based on previous searches and purchases as well as Amazon wish lists. The company reportedly even knows how long a shopper's mouse hovers over a potential buy, according to Gawker.

With anticipatory shipping, Amazon may send items to customers preemptively if the shoppers appear to want certain products.  

"This new scheme will potentially cut delivery times down, and put the online vendor ahead of its real-world counterparts," The Verge said.

Amazon may even send products "speculatively" without having the customer's full address, according to The Verge.

The program could mean a lot of customers who return the packages they didn't buy in the first place, but the company seems to be hoping that anticipatory shipping will improve buyer relations.

"Delivering the package to the given customer as a promotional gift may be used to build goodwill," Amazon said in the patent.

The company is also developing a self-guided drone that would get packages to customers in half an hour or less, The Associated Press reported in December.

Flying drones would follow GPS coordinates and deliver packages that weigh less than 5 pounds, which would allow around 86 percent of Amazon items to be shipped this way.

The Prime Air unmanned aircraft project is in the early stages in Amazon's research and development labs and could happen in the next four or five years, according to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

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