Internet giant Amazon has been granted a patent on a new technology that will prevent brick-and-mortar shoppers from showrooming, or the practice of comparison shopping on a mobile device while in a retail setting. (A somewhat ironic move, given that showrooming has helped solidify Amazon’s reputation as an e-commerce giant.)
The patent, called “Physical Store Online Shopping Control,” would prevent shoppers at brick-and-mortar Amazon locations from showrooming by blocking competitors’ sites, redirecting the consumer back to Amazon’s site, sending a coupon or calling a sales associate.
This technology only extends to mobile devices using the store’s Wi-Fi network. To get around this, consumers can simply turn off Wi-Fi and use their phone provider’s data to access competitor sites.
The news is just the latest in a series of moves into the brick-and-mortar realm, including the advent of cashier-free convenience stores, physical bookstores and the notable acquisition of Whole Food for $13.7 billion.