Amazon files ‘anti-showrooming’ patent
Written by Chris Lemmon
Amazon has filed a patent in the US that will prevent in-store shoppers from checking the prices from rival retailers.
The announcement follows the news that the online giant is set to purchase grocery chain Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, taking control of more than 460 supermarket stores in the US, Canada and the UK.
Named ‘Physical Store Online Shopping Control’, the patent describes a system which allows Amazon to intercept network requests like URLs and search terms that occur on its in-store Wi-Fi network – dubbed ‘anti-showrooming’.
For example, if you try and access a competitor’s website to price check an item, the retailer could compare the requested content to what is offered in-store and then send price comparison information or a coupon to your browser instead, or could block content outright.
The patent explains: “A negative scenario may exist for a physical store retailer when a consumer evaluates items at the physical store, leverages physical store sales representatives, and then reviews pricing information online in order to purchase the same item from an online retailer. The physical store retailer pays for floor space, sales representative time, product inventory management, and other costs while not being able to complete a sales transaction.”