What if a company knew what you wanted before you did?
In a story that seems more suited for Minority Report, The Funancial Times recently reported that mega-corp Amazon is quickly expanding its warehouse network nationwide as part of a master plan to enable before-day delivery of products that haven’t even been ordered yet to unknowing customers across the U.S.
It’s called PreShop and it can read your wallet’s mind.
Not many details can be confirmed at this time, but sources told the Times that Amazon plans to apply its users’ transaction histories as well as other data to graph purchase patterns and then deliver that weathered copy of Catcher in the Rye to Johnny Shopper before he even knew he wanted it.
There is some uncertainty over how a before-day business model would work on a large scale. Speciality courier services are able to provide same-day delivery. The big players — UPS, FedEx and USPS — are good for next day delivery at best. It’s unclear whether the major shipping services would adapt well to the awkwardness the surrounds before-day delivery of packages to unsuspecting customers.
“It was weird,” confirmed Brian Parks, a long-time employee of UPS who participated in Amazon’s PreShop beta testing. “This poor guy opens the door with this look on his face, like visibly offended that I’m standing there. He tells me that he doesn’t remember ordering anything. The blood drains from his face and then he starts muttering about hackers. He went inside to call Amazon customer service, so I just put the package down and left.”
Amazon has been trying to redefine the concept of instant gratification for years. Time will tell if PreShop is a hit with customers, if they can even be called that anymore. One thing is certain: retailers are really going to be in trouble when the world can go shopping without ever going shopping.