Amazon is an online shopping giant and it is hard to not use the retail site with low prices every day. Amazon stores are the latest introduction, but a recently introduced patent suggests these stores are less user-friendly than we had hoped. The patent is titled “Physical Store Online Shopping Control” and in essence will prevent customers from price comparing while in-store.

Amazon does not want to lose customers through them finding a cheaper deal, so they have created a patent to prevent this from happening:

Smartphones are typically setup to use the best signal they can find in an area, which includes freely-accessible WiFi. Amazon knows this and will happily offer you free WiFi access when walking around its physical stores. But when accessing their WiFi, Amazon intends to monitor what you are doing. If its monitoring system detects you are attempting to compare prices it will take action. – 

The definition of ‘action’ in this case can take many forms:

  1. Your comparison will be blocked and you will be redirected to an Amazon-friendly page
  2. You are instead offered a complimentary item or offer to entice you to continue buying from Amazon
  3. An Amazon representative could approach you to guide you to continue buying from them

Don’t forget, all this is on the basis that you are using Amazon’s free WiFi while in store. In theory, you could just turn off your WiFi when making the comparison, but we can’t help but give them a pat on the back for trying. Even though they actually offer a service to compare prices in their app when out shopping in other stores….