Despite the many sales that showrooming has afforded Amazon throughout the years, the retailer surely doesn't want to become a victim going forward.
In an effort to protect itself against the practice, the online giant was granted a patent that avoids this very scenario. Called “Physical Store Online Shopping Control,” the patent prevents brick-and-mortar retailers from leveraging technology in their own stores that would stop shoppers from comparing prices of in-store merchandise to competitor’s products online, according to TechCrunch.
The patent describes a solution that can identify what content a shopper is accessing via the retailer’s Wi-Fi network. If the content is deemed as product or pricing information from a competitor’s website, Amazon can take any number of actions — including blocking the request, according to the filing.
Amazon is gaining the new patent at an interesting time. In addition to continuing to open a chain of brick-and-mortar bookstores, its AmazonFresh pickup stations, and cashier-free Amazon Go convenience stores, the chain announced on Friday that it will buy Whole Foods Markets for a whopping $13.7 billion — extending its physical store footprint even further.