Unbelievably low prices and amazing discount offers have led the masses to flock to Amazon’s e-commerce platform. And it has now become our habit to check on the price of an item, which may woo us at the local brick-and-mortar store, on e-tailer websites and compare them to the price you see in front of yourself. This decided whether you’ll purchase the item right then and there or leave the store to order it online.
Well, Amazon may have bestowed this power on us but is now looking to strip us of the same rights. According to the latest patent bagged by the e-commerce giant, it will now prevent its customers from comparing prices when they are present within an Amazon brick-and-mortar store. It will not provide the seamless online purchase experience available to shoppers within its establishment.
The patent filing, which was approved last month and has been aptly titled Physical Store Online Shopping Control, details the new technology Amazon will employ to monitor and control your internet browsing experience at the offline store. It mentions that the company will be able to intercept network requests like URLs and search terms conducted over the in-store wireless network (this will be the primary condition) to be able to identify the device and act upon the same.
This means when you walk into an Amazon store for suppose hardware shopping and you connect to their in-store Wi-Fi to stream your latest Spotify playlist while you shop. But, while you’re looking at picking up a toaster for yourself, you have the brilliant idea of comparing the price of the same online — maybe on a competitors website. And while you do so, Amazon will be able to monitor your web requests and take actions such as —
- it can block the required information from reaching your mobile device,
- it will also have the power to redirect your search to other relevant content — may be their own website,
- compare the price of the searched item on a competitor’s item with their and send a coupon or complimentary offer to your browser or via SMS,
- or Amazon could simply intimate an in-store representative to assist you with the purchase.
While this is still just another patent filing, Amazon could implement this technology to thwart online price comparisons and keep sales of its offline strategy intact — without losing its existing online user base. The American e-commerce behemoth still continues to remain the major contributor to online sales but is now looking to add to the same via next-gen tech-powered offline stores. The offline stores often suffer at the hands of technology but Amazon is not planning to have any of that at its own stores.
Though we will not see this technology being implemented in offline stores for now, but a simple workaround to this problem could be using your mobile data to surf the web. Amazon will not be able to intercept and control the information flowing through it. This will easily enable you to keep an eye out for cheaper deals online while shopping offline.