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Amazon touts predictive online shopping and shipping

22 January 2014 - 11:44 by Mike Price

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Amazon has been a leader in the e-commerce market for some time, with low prices and an unbeatable selection of products helping to keep it ahead of the competition. It has always pursued innovations on top of its standard business, with the recent announcement of delivery drones giving people a glimpse of the future of safe shopping online.

This week, however, it filed a patent for a new concept entirely, so rather than simply recommending similar items to customers based on their past purchasing habits, it will be able to ship out products to people before they even know that they want to buy them, according to

The idea is not that people will suddenly receive a flood of unwanted products to their door, but rather that Amazon will send out items to local distribution hubs, in anticipation of orders being placed by people in the area. This will lower the amount of time it takes to receive an item, because it does not have to be sent all the way from a centralised warehouse when you place an order online.

Amazon is even intending to make it possible for deliveries to be rerouted and diverted while the trucks are out on the road, based on individual orders or emerging trends. This should lead to greater efficiency in the long run, but does sound like a bit of a logistical nightmare to organise.

It may sound slightly spooky to think that Amazon will be using the power of its cloud computing infrastructure to work out what customers want to buy before they have even come to the same conclusion themselves. But anything which makes e-commerce more convenient and speeds up delivery is to be welcomed over the coming years.