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Amazon's Anti-Showrooming Patent


Amazon was recently granted a patent that could prevent shoppers from comparing prices of in-store products to those online. The patent is considered strange for a company that built its vast empire by offering lower prices online and has been partly blamed for the decline of retail stores.

The new patent dated May 30 to prevent the practice of "showrooming" is called 'Physical store online shopping control.' With the patent, a retailer can monitor customers' smartphones when using a store's Wi-Fi network. The system can identify when a customer is trying to access a competitor's website and take action.

As per the description, the patent could block the request altogether, redirect it to the retailer's own site or distract the customer with a coupon or a salesperson's attention.

The patent also reportedly describes that it could collect historical information on a customer's interests based on matters like past purchases, and can use that before taking an action like sending an offer.

Meanwhile, the patent is said to have one shortcoming that it can't do much to stop customers from comparing prices using their device's cellular network.

Amazon, which has been in favor of price comparisons for years, had offered a Price Check app back in 2010. The world's largest online retailer is also a physical retailer now.

The company holds brick-and-mortar bookstores and cashier-free convenience stores under the Amazon Go brand. The company very recently bought a grocery chain Whole Foods Market Inc. for $13.4 billion.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos reportedly had applied for the anti-showrooming patent back in 2012.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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