Should Town Centres Offering Free Wifi Block Access to Amazon?

Post date: Oct 11, 2016 11:39:28 AM

I am reliably informed that there is a plan to offer free wifi in the area of Basingtoke town centre in Hampshire (UK), which is going to be used for a variety of clever marketing purposes.

This may be considered to facilitate "showrooming" by Amazon customers at shops in the town centre, directly undermining the tenants of the shops in Basingstoke, many of whom compete with Amazon. It also importantly undermines the business of the retail property landlords, selling space to 'bricks and mortar' retailers.

"Showrooming" is the practice of consumers examining products in a traditional bricks and mortar retail store "in the real world", and then buying them online, often at a lower price on Amazon, Ebay etc. This is as an e-commerce site can often offer much lower prices than their high street counterparts because they don't have the same overheads such as prime retail locations.

Research by design agency Foolproof in 2013 found that 24% of people showroomed while Xmas shopping - and 40% of them took their business elsewhere.

In my view any shop, town centre or retail park offering free wifi should block Amazon, Ebay and Google Shopping in the same way they would block adult content. The Festival Place shopping centre in Basingstoke has an Amazon Locker (designed to facilitate showrooming) located in the toilet corridor on the Lower Level between Boots and Herbal Inn...

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