Amazon could revolutionize industrial market

E-retail has made some big innovations in the past year, and Amazon.com is the source of much of that news. A few months ago, the online retailer announced plans that it could start using drones to deliver customers' orders, and the latest plan it's mulling is no less astounding: It may start anticipating what it believes people will want to buy and ship it before an order is even complete.

On Jan. 20, Amazon filed a patent for what it calls "anticipatory" shipping. To carry out this plan effectively, it said it will analyze customer data like purchasing history, product searches, wish lists and shopping cart contents, according to The Wall Street Journal. After doing so, items Amazon believes will be ordered will be moved from its fulfillment center to a shipping hub near that customer so the order will be delivered much more quickly than what we're used to.

"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, shipping the package to the destination geographical area without completely specifying the deliver address at time of shipment, and while the package is in transit, completely specifying the delivery address for the package," the patent filing says.

The radical change in the retailer's delivery and operations could have a huge impact on the industrial warehouse market around the country, as it will seek strategically located logistics centers near urban centers to better accommodate a larger number of customers. Commercial real estate companies with a warehouse portfolio could greatly benefit from these new developments. 

"They [Amazon] are probably the most creative and forward-looking people in this space, and seeing this type of thing doesn't surprise me," Jack Cuneo, CEO of Chambers Street Properties, said to CNBC. "It's a great model, so you're going to see more people emulating what they do and more need on their part for space."

Infectious industry
It's a given that as Amazon rolls out this new program, other online retailers will probably do more than take note – they'll take inspiration and alter their delivery models to remain competitive.

"That's the highest of all the real estate food groups," said Mitch Roschelle, a partner at PWC, which conducted an investor survey related to the warehouse market. "The online retailers have struggled to figure out how to get the goods closer and closer and closer to where the people live."

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