Amazon knows what you´re going to buy BEFORE you even push “buy” – they know you too well!
Everybody is highly aware about the data-driven culture at Amazon, and how they are utilizing Big Data in every direction to boost revenues. Now they are going down another avenue of their business models powered by Big data, more specifically, their distribution channels and how they are delivering products to their customers. Amazon wants to ship products to their customers even before they make a purchase – Amazon knows their customers very well through Big Data patterns. They use previous orders, product searches, wish lists, shopping-cart contents, returns and even how long an Internet user’s cursor hovers over an item to decide what and when to ship. This “anticipatory shipping” will dramatically reduce delivery time and probably increase customer satisfaction to the extent that the customer will be even more willing to use online-channels. Amazon continues the battle of customers with instant order fulfillment, which everybody I assume has experienced at IKEA. IKEA´s business model and its value proposition is reflected upon their capability of instant order fulfillment, maybe not on all products, but especially the fast movers. We love to get the products we order and buy right away, so imagine the case of ordering from home and get it the same day or even within a couple of hours. It is important to mention that this is not something that Amazon has implemented yet, but only filled a patent. Anyway, this truly reflects the capabilities of Amazon´s data scientists to utilize Big Data to transform their business model and in the end use their supply chain as a strategic weapon. This shows the relentless implications of predicting customer behavior/demand.
If we take this predictive shipping to the next level and combine it with Amazon´s vision of transporting products using unmanned flying vehicles, they will dramatically change the order fulfillment process of both online and offline players. The drawback of this predictive shipping process would of course be costly return and unnecessary impact on the external environment. But as this algorithm is constantly fed with new data, the prediction will strengthen by time. So next time you´re diving into Amazon´s endless world of products it might be the case that one of these products is already on its way!