This morning, the internet discovered Amazon was buying Whole Foods for a stunning $13 billion. Just what this means for prices at the store not-so-lovingly dubbed “Whole Paycheck” remains to be seen, but a patent Amazon recently had approved hints at what the company might be thinking. Namely, it patented a method to prevent you from checking prices online when you’re in a store.
The Verge lays out the details, but essentially it redirects or outright blocks URLs and search terms the store would prefer you not look at while they’re in your store. To be fair, Amazon would have a lot of reasons to patent something like this, especially since it was filed in 2012, not the least of which is to prevent brick-and-mortar stores from doing this to Amazon. After all, part of the death of retail is people treating stores as showrooms and then giving the actual sale to Amazon.
The timing is almost certainly coincidental, but as Amazon pushes into physical retail, it may find itself facing the same problems the retailers it put out of business are struggling with right now. How it deals with that challenge will likely define how it sells everything else, so it’s worth keeping an eye on.
(via The Verge)