London: World's largest online retailer Amazon has developed a 'mind-reading' technology that will predict what people want to buy and ship packages even before customers have placed an order.
Amazon has filed a patent for the technology called "anticipatory shipping". The technology aims to eliminate a major disadvantage of online shopping: customers cannot receive their items immediately after purchase, but must instead wait for the products to be shipped to them.
The American company will use an array of factors, such as previous purchases, items customers have searched for, and even the amount of time a user's cursor hovers over a product, in order to predict what purchases a person may make, 'The Times' reported.
Using this information, Amazon will send these predicted items to a nearby "hub" or local warehouse.
This would mean that when a person actually clicks to buy merchandise on the website, their chosen item will be housed closer to the buyer's address.
This will allow a package to be delivered within minutes or hours, rather than the days and weeks it currently takes.
"One substantial disadvantage to the virtual storefront model is that in many instances, customers cannot receive their merchandise immediately upon purchase, but must instead wait for product to be shipped to them," according to the company's patent filing.
"The availability of expedited shipping methods from various common carriers may mitigate the delay in shipment, but often at substantial additional cost that may rival the price paid for the merchandise.
"Such delays may dissuade customers from buying items from online merchants, particularly if those items are more readily available locally," the patent document said.
Amazon has been working toward reducing delivery times. The company is experimenting with a fleet of flying drones to deliver packages through the air to a customer, within half an hour of an order being made.
First Published: Monday, January 27, 2014, 16:28