Amazon is considering plans to try and ship you items before you actually order them.

While this might sound like an underwhelming attempt to follow up the media blitz that followed their unlikely 'Amazon Drones' stunt, there's actually a serious idea here.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the company has gained a patent on something it calls 'anticipatory shipping'.

Using its vast database of search, 'Wish List' and past purchases data, Amazon thinks it can anticipate where different items will sell well, ahead of their release.

Using this data it can ship items in bulk to local 'hubs' before anyone actually orders them, cutting delivery times when you do actually press 'buy'.

But Amazon thinks it can go further, detailing in the patent how it might go so far as to box up and send out products to individual addresses, before the customer actually buys the item.

Under this system you might end up receiving things you didn't order, and don't want - in which case you can send them back. But you might also end up receiving things you were going to buy anyway, without the inconvenience of actually having to, well, decide that you needed them.

You might also get free stuff, Amazon concedes, : "Delivering the package to the given customer as a promotional gift may be used to build goodwill."

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