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Amazon Patents|’Anticipatory Shopping’

DALLAS (CN) - In an ambitious attack against brick-and-mortar retailers, Amazon filed - and was granted - a patent for "anticipatory shopping" - a system to reduce delivery time by sending packages to regional distribution hubs before customers order them.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Amazon its "anticipatory shopping" patent on Christmas eve 2013.

The system involves shipping a package to a hub or distribution warehouse in a region "without completely specifying the delivery address at time of shipment, and while the package is in transit, completely specifying the delivery address for the package," according to the patent abstract.

Amazon claims it can determine which products to ship to which buyers by looking at historical shopping patterns, including wish lists, previous purchases and the contents of Internet "shopping carts."

"For example, a newly released novel in a series may reasonably be predicted to have a similar demand profile to the last novel in the series," the patent states.

Amazon claims that the "one substantial disadvantage" that online retailers face against traditional brick-and-mortar retailers is that their customers have to wait for their purchases to be shipped.

"Such delays may dissuade customers from buying items from online merchants, particularly if those items are more readily available locally," the patent states. Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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