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Amazon has a plan to predict your future purchases

Amazon has filed a patent on technology that could predict what you would shop for and send it to you without you ordering it. (AP Photo/File)

What if you didn't need to order something from Amazon, they just sensed you wanted it and shipped it to you?

That's the premise behind a new patent filed by the Seattle-based tech company. According to the patent, Amazon plans to use the technology that would put something on a truck and have it "speculatively shipped to a physical address."

There are two ways Amazon might use speculative shipping. The first, if a particular product is being ordered, wished for, or even hovered over with a mouse for a prolonged period of time in a part of the country, say Snohomish, that popular item would be shipped to a nearby Amazon facility in order to increase the speed of shipments.

With Amazon's other plan, they might see what you're ordering and send you a companion piece: If you bought a suit, they might send you a tie that would match the suit's color.

According to John Curley, this plan of Amazon's is a lot like a tactic he knows as "puppy-dogging."

In a pre-Internet world, puppy-dogging would occur when a salesperson came around to an office and said, 'Hey, we're not selling this copier/fax/scanner/other-now-seemingly-outdated technology to you, we just want you to try it out.' But then when the salesperson returns to get the equipment back a month or two later, the office is hooked and buys the equipment anyway.

John compared the salesperson scenario to letting a family take care of a puppy for a month before taking it back. And as you start to carry the puppy away from the family, you turn so the puppy dog face looks back towards the family so they can see.

"Amazon is doing the puppy-dog," said Curley.

The details after you get the tie you didn't actually order are still a little hazy. You could return it, pay for it, or keep it, which could be seen as a goodwill gesture from Amazon.

"This is all in the land of speculation," said Tom. But much like Amazon's drone, it holds the potential to drastically change how you shop.

The Tom and Curley Show on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

Listen to Tom and Curley every weekday at 9am on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. Seattle's News, Seattle's Talk.

Tom and Curley on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

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About the Author


Alyssa Kleven is an editor and content producer at MyNorthwest.com. She enjoys doting over her adorable dachshund Winnie - named for Arcade Fire front-man Win Butler.

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