It goes without saying that Amazon has a treasure trove of data on consumer habits, but how can it leverage said data to further improve its service and deal a death blow to physical stores? “Anticipatory shipping” might be the answer, which just so happens to be the name of a new patent granted to the Seattle based online retailer. This patent describes a method of shipping items to a delivery hub in a specific area where Amazon expects customers to purchase them quite a lot, but haven’t ordered as yet. The decision to ship an item to a hub would be based on previous orders from that particular area and a few other factors.

The item will remain in the hub or even be loaded in a shipping truck that’s making rounds in that area, the decision to ship will be based on wish lists, product searches, contents in shopping carts, previous orders and even how long a customer’s cursor hovers over that item on Amazon. This would certainly reduce delivery times, provided that the data paints an absolutely clear picture of what customers in particular area could end up ordering. Though the company doesn’t mention in the patent just how much anticipatory shipping may cut down delivery times. This isn’t the only forward thinking method that Amazon has come up with in its big to reduce delivery times, the company has also been pondering over the use of drones to deliver packages within 30 minutes from storage hubs in the area.

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