Amazon patents way of stopping store customers price-comparing online

The patent, filed in 2012 and recently accepted, is titled "Physical Store Online Shopping Control", and will stop shoppers from checking out online rivals while in-store.

Of course, you can avoid the system altogether by simply not using the in-store Wi-Fi, and just because the patent has been filed doesn't necessary mean it will be put into action.

Amazon was awarded a patent on May 30 that could help it choke off a common issue faced by many physical stores: Customers' use of smartphones to compare prices even as they walk around a shop. Which gives Amazon an enormous stake in making sure that its customers don't look for better deals right from its own baking aisle.

The system would allow the retailer to see when its in-store Wi-Fi-connected shoppers visit competitors' websites.

Essentially, Amazon wants the ability to access potential customers' browsing behavior in real-time, and either block them from searching competitors' pricing and inventory, or offer price comparisons itself directly on the device.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted a patent to Amazon that can be used to prevent shoppers at Amazon's offline outlets from accessing online price comparison platforms, reports The Verge. It's often the case that customers will head into retail stores, only to log onto Amazon and actually make a purchase there - typically at a cheaper price than the brick-and-mortar retailer is offering. The company already operates a trial retail store called Amazon Go for Amazon employees, which is ran autonomously without the need for staff. After all, part of the death of retail is people treating stores as showrooms and then giving the actual sale to Amazon.

This morning, the internet discovered Amazon was buying Whole Foods for a stunning $13 billion.

  • Zachary Reyes