These Are the DVDs You’ve Been Looking For. Like a Jedi, Amazon to Ship Your Package Before You Even…

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 20 2014 11:40 AM

These Are the DVDs You’ve Been Looking For. Like a Jedi, Amazon to Ship Your Package Before You Even Know You Want It.

457850649-amazon-shipments-in-the-packet-and-parcel-section-of
Knock knock, here's the package you were going to order.

Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images

Amazon, like a Jedi, knows what you’re looking for. The company is, in fact, so confident of its use of the force (read: data) that last month it patented a system called “anticipatory shipping,” which ships packages before you’ve even realized you want them yet. It’s all part of Amazon’s attempt to utilize its vast stores of consumer data to slash delivery times that it fears are keeping you from buying online. That doesn’t mean that the company is necessarily going to send you a copy of the Captain Phillips DVD when its released on Tuesday, but in a perfect Amazon world, you know, they might. Here’s how it works.

Instead of keeping those items that the company knows you really want, but haven’t quite been able to pull the trigger on yet, in far off storage hubs, using its new data-powers it will direct predictive purchases closer to consumers that it expects to want them. “In deciding what to ship, Amazon said it may consider previous orders, product searches, wish lists, shopping-cart contents, returns and even how long an Internet user’s cursor hovers over an item,” the Wall Street Journal reports. Here’s more on the process from the Journal:

According to the patent, Amazon may fill out partial street addresses or zip codes to get items closer to where customers need them, and later complete the label in transit, the company said. For large apartment buildings, “a package without addressee information may be speculatively shipped to a physical address … having a number of tenants,” Amazon said in the patent. Amazon said the predictive shipping method might work particularly well for a popular book or other items that customers want on the day they are released. As well, Amazon might suggest items already in transit to customers using its website to ensure they are delivered, according to the patent.
Advertisement

But what happens if you’re really not that in to Tom Hanks flicks and one showed up at your doorstep? To avoid expensive returns and, presumably, the customer annoyance of having to return unwanted items, Amazon may just let you keep it as a gift, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Delivering the package to the given customer as a promotional gift may be used to build goodwill,” the patent said.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Sports Nut

Grandmaster Clash

One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company

Science

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

Food

How to Order Chinese Food

First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”

Scotland Is Inspiring Secessionists Across America

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Sept. 18 2014 10:42 AM Scalia’s Liberal Streak The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 18 2014 11:25 AM Gays on TV: From National Freakout to Modern Family Fun
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 12:03 PM The NFL Opines on “the Role of the Female”
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 11:48 AM Watch the Hilarious First Sketch From Season 4 of Key & Peele
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 10:07 AM “The Day It All Ended” A short story from Hieroglyph, a new science fiction anthology.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.