Currently not content with deliveries within half an hour of a customer making a purchase – using drones, which are currently being tested, to dispatch goods – global retail giant Amazon now wants to slash that time to nothing, offering zero waiting time for your items.
Just how is Amazon going to use its fulfilment services to achieve this lofty goal? It's been reported that the company is planning warehouse-style pickup centres that customers would go to directly to get their products straight after they order them.
The idea is something along the lines of a drive-through supermarket, with warehouses dotted all over major urban centres that customers could easily get to. Additionally, as Amazon increasingly moves into the fresh grocery market, people could also order food and drinks online and then pick them up at the warehouses, the first of which is reportedly in development in America’s Silicon Valley tech heartland.
Many Amazon customers have to wait several days for their items, of course, as they're delivered by international parcel services, but the company has already drastically cut delivery times for people in some locations – notably New York and London - where customers can get their goods within an hour of ordering them.
It’s all part of the company’s goal of addressing that still-lingering problem of e-commerce; getting products to the customers as fast as if they bought them in a real-life store. Amazon is also working on a concept of printing ordered goods on the go. As 3D printing becomes ever more sophisticated, and capable of printing just about anything, Amazon envisages being able to dispatch delivery trucks to customers’ locations, printing out their orders as they go.
Amazon has already filed patents for a way of printing products using 3D technologies, and the company is also leveraging the power of big data to try and predict what customers might order before they even know themselves. Data from sources such as past purchase history, favourite items, browsing history and more can all be combined to forecast what people might buy next. This way, it may be possible to have an item at a customer’s door just seconds after they ordered it.
It seems certain that e-commerce deliveries will soon be far better than ever.