BOSTON (CBS) – Imagine shopping at a store that knows you so well it gives you what you want before you even ask.
That’s the vision at Amazon.com. They call it “anticipatory shipping” and the company actually got a patent for it last month.
The idea is similar to a theory explored in law enforcement and featured in the movie “Minority Report,” in which psychics help police stop crime before it happens.
The Wall Street Journal got a hold of Amazon’s patent and it says the company will gather customers’ shopping patterns including previous orders, searches, wish lists and even the length of time they hold the curser over a product.
Amazon would then identify products that people in a specific area would want. The packages could then wait on trucks for the order to actually arrive.
The idea is to get stuff to people faster so they will find no reason to go to the store.
Not that this would prevent shipping problems like we had over the holidays. We’ll still need the drones for that.
But what happens if the system doesn’t work and Amazon sends you stuff you don’t want? In the patent, the company says it might just call it a gift and build some good will – yet another development the brick-and-mortars would have to compete with.
Follow Joe Mathieu on Twitter @joemathieuwbz