Online retail giant Amazon says it knows its customers so well it can start shipping even before orders are placed.
The Seattle-based company, which late last year said it wants to use drones to speed package delivery, gained a patent last month for what it calls "anticipatory shipping,'' the Wall Street Journal reports.
Amazon, the Journal reported, says it may box and ship products that it expects customers in a specific area will want, based on previous orders and other factors it gleans from its customers' shopping patterns, even before they place an online order.
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Among those other factors: previous orders, product searches, wish lists, shopping cart contents, returns and other online shopping practices.
Amazon has worked to cut delivery times as a way of encouraging more orders and satisfying customers, such as by expanding its warehouse network and making some overnight and even same-day deliveries.