By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Technology -- From Alexandria, Virginia, VerticalNews journalists report that a patent by the inventors Spiegel, Joel R. (Woodinville, WA); McKenna, Michael T. (Bellevue, WA); Lakshman, Girish S. (Issaquah, WA); Nordstrom, Paul G. (Seattle, WA), filed on August 24, 2012, was published online on December 24, 2013.
The patent's assignee for patent number 8615473 is Amazon Technologies, Inc. (Reno, NV).
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "This invention relates to order fulfillment systems and, more particularly, to shipment of packages.
"The increasing scope of electronic commerce, fueled by the ubiquity of personal computers, the Internet, and the World Wide Web, has resulted in striking changes to the ways customers may shop for and purchase products. Virtual storefronts, in which customers may view product information including features, specifications, appearance, pricing and availability, have become commonplace even among wholesalers and retailers who have maintained physical customer presences (i.e., brick-and-mortar storefronts). Much commerce is already being conducted exclusively through virtual storefronts by companies lacking any other customer presence.
"Electronic commerce using virtual storefronts offers many advantages, such as lower cost overhead (e.g., due to lack of sales personnel, lack of physical storefronts, highly automated ordering processes, etc.), and a potential customer base limited only by the reach of the Internet. However, one substantial disadvantage to the virtual storefront model is that in many instances, customers cannot receive their merchandise immediately upon purchase, but must instead wait for product to be shipped to them. The availability of expedited shipping methods from various common carriers may mitigate the delay in shipment, but often at substantial additional cost that may rival the price paid for the merchandise. In many instances, the lowest-cost surface-based shipping options may take a week or longer from a customer's order date. Such delays may dissuade customers from buying items from online merchants, particularly if those items are more readily available locally."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "Various embodiments of a method and system for anticipatory package shipping are disclosed. According to one embodiment, a method may include packaging one or more items as a package for eventual shipment to a delivery address, selecting a destination geographical area to which to ship the package, and shipping the package to the destination geographical area without completely specifying the delivery address at time of shipment. The method may further include completely specifying the delivery address for the package while the package is in transit.
"According to another embodiment, a method may include determining the status of one or more shipped packages currently in transit to respective destination geographical areas, where each shipped package was shipped without completely specifying a delivery address at time of shipment. Each shipped package may include one or more items. For a given shipped package, the method may further include analyzing one or more business variables related to the item(s) included in the given package, and determining a disposition of the given package dependent upon the business variable analysis.
"A system is further contemplated that in one embodiment may include a first and a second computer system. The first computer system may be configured to identify a destination geographical area to which to ship a package including one or more items that are destined for eventual shipment to a delivery address. The second computer system may be configured to communicate with the first computer system via a network. After the package has been shipped to the destination geographical area without the delivery address being completely specified at time of shipment, the first computer system may convey a complete specification of the delivery address to the second computer system. In response to receiving the complete specification of the delivery address, the second computer system may assign the delivery address to the package."
For additional information on this patent, see: Spiegel, Joel R.; McKenna, Michael T.; Lakshman, Girish S.; Nordstrom, Paul G.. Method and System for Anticipatory Package Shipping. U.S. Patent Number 8615473, filed August 24, 2012, and published online on December 24, 2013. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=18&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=866&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=20131224.PD.&OS=ISD/20131224&RS=ISD/20131224
Keywords for this news article include: Amazon Technologies Inc..
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