When we see something we like in a brick-and-mortar store, we check prices online to see if the product can be purchased from an online retailer at a lower price. Amazon has thrived off of this behavior for a long time but as the company makes its entry into the brick-and-mortar business, they may not want this any longer.
And so Amazon has patented a method to discourage in-store shoppers from checking prices online.
Amazon has announced that it wants to acquire Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. That company has 400 retail locations across the United States, so Amazon will effectively have 400 distribution points for its products once the acquisition goes through. Now we hear news that Amazon has patented an algorithm which has been developed to discourage shoppers from “mobile window shopping.” That’s what the company is calling customers checking products at a retail store and then trying to find a better price online.
So if a store customer is connected to that store’s Wi-Fi, the algorithm detailed in Amazon’s Physical Store Online Shopping Control patent will determine whether the user is visiting a competitor’s website. It may then block access to the competitor’s website, prevent customers from viewing comparable products or may redirect the customer to Amazon’s own website or any Amazon-approved sites. An Amazon salesperson might be notified to approach that customer or it might entice the customer to complete their purchase in the store by offering them a coupon or promotion. It will be interesting to see where this goes.