Books written by Ray Sullivan

Monday, 20 January 2014

Amazon to Ship Tomorrow's Order Yesterday

Like many people I guess I used Amazon more than ever over the Christmas season. Busy lives, hectic schedules, keen pricing and superlative service conspires to persuade people to choose the Big A. It wasn't a guilt free process - I'm increasingly uncomfortable with how powerful Amazon have become. Of course they are providing valuable employment for many would-be journalists in their pursuit of a news story, plus the odd local lad and lass in their massive warehouses.

One thing is clear - Amazon want it all. Not only is there not room for anyone else at the top of the sales rank, they don't want anyone else anywhere near it. It wouldn't surprise me if they didn't take on the supermarkets next - not opening physical stores but instead providing click and deliver services for groceries. If any company could shake ASDA's and Tesco's dominance in these areas, it's Amazon.

One area they want to lead in is in rapid deliveries. To be fair, they are pretty fast already, but seemingly not fast enough. A patent application filed recently seems to suggest they want to deliver your goods before you've decided to buy them. Well, maybe that's stretching it a bit far, but not by much. Their concept is that by monitoring how long you mouse over a product, by analysing what you buy and what you search for (you do remember giving them permission to extract this information and use it, don't you?) then they can anticipate what you want to buy.

Even if they're not certain whether you want that book (you remember them, don't you?) or electronic gizmo that you were eyeballing on screen last night, they're fairly confident they can start shipping procedures, moving it to your nearest depot ready for the final confirmation click. I guess that makes sure you can be promised early delivery when you finally decide to blow the budget. They're even talking about part filling in the delivery label ahead of an order. There's even talk of delivering items without a firm order, with the opportunity to return them free of charge if not wanted.

I have no doubt that if Amazon are publicly discussing this idea, albeit via the medium of a patent application, then they are very close to realising it. I expect I should nip onto my Kindle account to see what they have decided to buy on my behalf and the next time the doorbell goes it's probably the weekly shop. I hope they remember the milk, we're running short.

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