Amazon granted a patent that prevents in-store shoppers from online price checking
In 2017, Amazon was granted a patent has been granted a patent, first filed in 2012, on a mechanism that allows retailers to intercept network requests such as URLs and search terms on in-store wifi and either block shoppers from conducting online price comparisons or offer them discount coupons or complementary items. The patented technology would also tell the retailer the customer's physical whereabouts so they can send a sales representative. The company's plans for this technology, which predate its acquisition of Whole Foods' chain of physical stores, are unclear. One possibility is that Amazon will use it to stop others from implementing similar mechanisms to block customers from accessing Amazon to compare prices. Customers with their own mobile data plans can easily bypass in-store wifi.
Writer: Dani Deahl
Publication: The Verge
Publication date: 2017-06-15