We told you all along that this was going to get ugly. Once you put a smartphone into store aisles armed with price comparison engines and e-tailers, there is little to stop all-out war among merchants and between brick-and-mortar and e-commerce sellers.
Amazon isn’t kidding around this holiday season. Its previously released Price Check app has been used by many people already to scan product codes in store and find better deals elsewhere. On Dec. 10, however, Amazon ups the ante by offering app users a one-day 5% discount if they scan codes from a retailer but then buy something from Amazon.
Amazon will give customers 5% off on up to three “qualifying” products in electronics, toys, music, sporting goods and DVDs. According to the app itself, users must have their location services function active for the app in the phone to make the scan eligible for the discount. If you scan one of the eligible products, put it in your Amazon shopping cart and purchase it within 24 hours, you get a 5% (up to $5 maximum) discount applied to the purchase. The scheme is pretty blatantly designed to hijack you from the store aisle.
Part of the plan is also to use shoppers to reconnoiter prices for the e-tailer so it can come up with more competitive offers. Sam Hall, Director of Amazon Mobile, says in a statement “We scour online and in-store advertisements from other retailers, every day, year-round. Now we are enabling customers to use the Price Check app to share in-store prices while they search for the best deals.”
But this is the part of the marketing-speak I like most: “This is a powerful opportunity for customers to get involved and ensures Amazon customers get the best possible prices,” he says. Kind of makes you feel downright patriotic and “empowered,” doesn’t it? Another way of saying this of, course, is, "We will reward you with discounts when you spy for us."