Global Supply Chain Group


Amazon Shipping Items Before You Order It: Creepy Or Savvy?

Amazon Shipping Items


Amazon Shipping Items Before You Order It: Creepy Or Savvy?

How Amazon Shipping Can Ease Your Pain

After delivery drones, Amazon has created yet another news sensation! This time with predictive shipping and patenting it. In this article, Cathy Morrow Robertson describes Amazon’s latest leap:

“Based on previous orders, product searches, wish lists, shopping cart contents and other online customer experiences,

Amazon has received a patent for what it calls “anticipatory shipping” – shipping products that it expects customers in a specific area will want to purchase.

Flow charts abound in Amazon’s patent filing that outlines the different ways how this shipping will work. Based on analysis of the vast data Amazon collects on customers and visitors to its website (and maybe via social media websites)

it will send items to hubs or maybe even by-pass these hubs all together, without specific addresses on the packages, to regions in which it expects the item(s) to sale.

These items may be offered at a special price and, if sold, addresses will then be generated and delivered.

Know More Amazon Shipping

The use of barcodes are utilized to monitor the packages and there are proposed processes to handle returns outlined in the patent application. For more specifics, read the patent filing in full here.

This new shipping process is what many are describing as a way for Amazon to further cut delivery costs and times- by moving goods closer to the customer ahead of time and then offer same-day or next-day delivery.”

This is even more intense than Google’s predictive search function. Here, Amazon presumes to know more about you than you know yourself.

Before you even order something, they will ship it in the knowledge that they can make money doing it! How is this possible? Before jumping into any analysis, let’s go back a few centuries to before the industrial revolution.

Every piece of clothing, every shoe, in fact almost everything was hand made for the individual buyers that needed it. With the industrial revolution, the cost of production went down by such an amount that it paid to mass produce goods in the hope that someone would buy it later.

Most of the goods were sold to buyers who walked in as and when they needed the goods and unsold inventory was disposed of at lower prices. Overall, sellers made huge profits due to increased volumes.

Why Amazon Shipping Had Been So Popular Till Now?

Later, methodologies including statistical analysis of buyers’ aggregate demand patterns yielded better inventory optimisation opportunities to lower costs even further in this make-to-stock world.

Now, Amazon is moving the goal post one step closer to buyers with this new paradigm of ship-to-stock. This heralds a massive transition from the industrial revolution to the information revolution.

As more and more data about customers is collated, verified, parsed and analysed, behavioural patterns emerge allowing Amazon to identify buying triggers and propensity.

I do not want to go into a lot of detail of BIG DATA or behavioural pattern scoring through business intelligence algorithms. That they are very effective is illustrated by several case studies in my book “The 5-STAR Business Network“.

I write not only about Amazon, but also Target and other retailers, who use these advanced techniques to optimise their profits for each and every transaction.

Here's What Industry Insiders Say About Amazon Shipping.

This is called Transaction Optimisation Profitability (TOP) in my above named book, which include differential pricing, bundling, customised offerings, coupons, and other means of sophisticated revenue maximisation.

This drive to simultaneously minimize the costs and maximise the revenues on each and every transaction is called Transaction Optimisation Profitability (TOP) in my above named book.

Amazon’s reported leap to ship-to-stock may even help it stay on top of the TOP game. In one swoop it will dismantle one of the biggest objections to online shopping – having to wait for the items.

At the same time, with its superior knowledge of you, the customer, they can offer just the right price that will entice you to make the purchase once the item is shipped.

As a backup for unpurchased items, it will have to negotiate very good shipping rates for returns with the courier companies who are benefiting immensely from the online shopping boom (where are people who predicted the death of courier companies after faxes and emails replaced physical paper?)

An even more sophisticated strategy would be to buy or create a chain of specialist stores where a package with your name on will always be waiting for you just in case you want to purchase what you have been browsing online.

This will totally change the face of retail from “Stack it high, and sell it low (or, in some cases sell it high)” to “stack it close, sell it fast”. There will be several possible consequences.

Not only could this be the final nail in the coffin of traditional retail as we have known it for the last 50 years, but it could also mean that only a few traditional retailers (those who are well advanced with their own big data applications)

will be able to survive such a massive business model transformation. I would not like to name those most likely to become the road-kill but it seems likely that Target will give Amazon stiff competition.

Moreover, you may find that Amazon is in the market to buy one of the smaller chains with access to the last mile – e.g. 7-11, or another corner store. Alternatively, you may find them starting their own chain similar to Fed-Ex Kinko and the UPS store.

If you are working in the private equity arena, then you will notice that such chains as Pack-and-Send will become far more valuable in future.

I have tried to keep the technical jargon to minimum in this above blog post, and focused mainly on the business impact.

Yet, some of the terminology or concepts may not be fully understandable to some non-technical people. Got something to ask or discuss, please feel free to contact me (I am sure you can find how).

Over the next couple of weeks, keep an eye on more blogs on the fate of traditional retail, how Amazon’s trendsetting move will impact industries as diverse as shopping centres and courier companies.

On a final note, it also raises interesting questions about patents – because you could argue that allowing patents on predictive shipping is the same as allowing patents on mass production or the industrial revolution!

Share Generously :


Copyright - These concepts, frameworks and ideas are copyright of GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN GROUP from the time of their creation. Do NOT copy these without permission and proper attribution.


1. These ideas and concepts will be usually expressed by our thought leaders in multiple forums - conferences, speeches, books, reports, workshops, webinars, videos and training. You may have heard us say the same thing before.

2. The date shown above the article refers to the day when this article was updated. This blog post or article may have been written anytime prior to that date.

3. All anecdotes are based on true stories to highlight the key points of the article - some details are changed to protect identification of the parties involved.

4. You are encouraged to comment below - your real identity and email will not be revealed when your comment is displayed. Insightful comments will be featured, and will win a copy of one of our books. Please keep the comments relevant, decorous and respectful of everyone. All comments represent opinions of the commentators.

Our Quick Notes On Five Flows Of Supply Chain Management

Part of our new “Quick Notes” series – this report answers your most pertinent questions of the topic.

USD 20

. What are the five flows of SCM?

. Why are they important TO YOU?

. How can you map, track, and optimise these flows to serve YOU?

. What is the importance of difference between "Supply Chain" and "Value Chain"?

. What are the stellar case studies of each of the five flows?


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Table of Contents


Today, Vivek and his partners are among 20-30 people on the planet earth who have this deep understanding of supply chain systems, practices and tools. CEOs, COOs, executives and Boards call them in most challenging situations once they know the full potential of supply chain based transformations. Following are key milestones in Vivek's journey:

  • Started in 1983 as a merchant navy cadet at 18 years age, worked his way to qualify as a Captain – qualified to take command of any merchant ship, worldwide.
  • Earned a top tier MBA from UNSW at the top of his class.
  • Joined highly regarded strategy consulting firm Booz Allen & Hamilton, consulting to the CEOs, Boards and senior management of global corporations within Australia.
  • To learn and specialise in supply chain – against all odds, sought out the co-inventor of supply chain in Germany and convinced him to be a partner in his firm, GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN GROUP, launched in January 2000.
  • More than 500 successful blue chip projects with high impact business transformations in large corporations using the full power of SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT.
  • 4 Seminal and path breaking business books IN SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT – these are available in bookstores and universities and libraries worldwide.

Limited Time


This offer expires in

Our Quick Notes On Five Flows Of Supply Chain Management




Our Clients say it better than we ever could:



Our Clients come from a variety of industries – yet they have a common element. They rarely rest on their laurels, and are always looking to do better.


In the last 20 years we have completed more than 500 projects. Click below to see a sample of our projects.



Our Books



If you are deeply passionate about the world of business and supply chain networks as I am, and enjoy digging answers to critical questions that will help build and steer your business with wisdom, then join me. This book is a journey of exploration through the world of business networks that run along the veins of today’s commercial world.



The trend of outsourcing continues to grow unabated with the whole gamut of services, from simple to mission-critical tasks. There is not a single company on earth that does not outsource anything. It is not just about cost arbitrage, it is also a finer expression of division of labour at the organisational level. Like all leverage, outsourcing is a double-edged sword too. On one hand, it allows you to do more, faster. On the other hand, if it goes bad, it can easily kill your business. If you do not believe that is possible – you can google the Fox Meyer saga from the 90s and see for yourself.



Businesses Are Chained By Unseen Chains. If You Are Looking For Ways To “Unchain Your Corporation” A Successful Business Transformation Is Required.

Successful Business Transformations Are Difficult, Yet Rewarding.

Business Transformation Is Fast Becoming A Question Of Survival In The Modern Globalised Era.

Modern Supply Chains Integrate Businesses And Economies Faster By Systematic Information Sharing From Internal And External Sources.

Companies Can Multiply Profits By Progressively Ramping Up Cohesion And Collaboration Of All Moving Parts In B2B Network To Achieve Tighter Integration.



It is generally accepted that environmental consciousness is now changing to environmental proactiveness as organizations are discovering that it makes good commercial sense.

Boards are asking the management to review their policies related to environmental norms, not only to bolster their corporate social responsibility aims, but also because consumers are asking for greener supply chains

It is also widely agreed that consumers will increasingly prefer to buy more and even pay more for products or services provided in an environmentally sound manner.



Scroll to Top