Commentary

The Mobile Scanning Duel at Retail

It all started with a broken coffee pot.

My trusty old Kitchen Aid died yesterday. It was rather expected eventually, since the unit was recalled several years ago.

I had two identical KitchenAid coffeemakers, one at home the other at a summer house. Although both had the same recall situation, the company replaced only one, for some reason.

I’m guessing they thought I only had one, so after unsuccessfully trying to get the second one replaced, I decided to just use it until it expired, which it did yesterday. In quite a huff, actually.

So off to Macy’s I went. And that’s where I ended up in a dueling scanner war with a salesperson. I mean in a good way.

As I roamed the aisle scanning barcodes on various coffeemakers, the salesperson approached and asked if he could help.

“I’m just scanning to check prices,” I told him.

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“That’s what I figured,” he said.

“Do you price match?” I inquired.

“Yes,” he said. “Do you have an app for that? I‘ve been going to individual retailers’ websites to see their prices, but it would be a lot easier with an app.”

I recommended he try ShopSavvy, Amazon PriceCheck or RedLaser. He made a note and said that would make life a lot easier for him.

He asked me how soon I needed the coffeemaker. I told him now, since mine was toast and that’s why I was there shopping for one. I asked why he wanted to know that?

He told me everything was going on sale on Wednesday, so prices would be lower then. I reiterated that I needed the coffeemaker now.

He offered that since I was in such dire need, he could make an exception and give me the upcoming sale price.

That’s when he whipped out his official store scanner, which reminded me of a graphing calculator, loaded with buttons.

After he tapped in a few codes, he aimed his scanner at the Macy’s codes on the labels displayed as I flipped over boxes to scan the brand barcodes.

He said “$129. What’d you get?”

“Same,” I answered.

As we went through the process of scanning the respective codes on various coffeemakers and comparing prices from our respective scans, we settled on a Cuisinart coffeemaker.

Macy’s original price was $99.99. The salesperson’s scan showed the sale price on the coming Wednesday to be $69.99, for a $30 savings.

At checkout, he asked what price my scan showed, which found the same coffeemaker at RadioShack for $59.99.

“I didn’t know RadioShack sold coffeemakers, but I’ll match the price,” said the salesperson-as-shopper-advocate.

The few minutes of mutual scanning resulted in a 40% discount.

Salesperson scanning became part of customer service.

The duel was over.

2 comments about "The Mobile Scanning Duel at Retail".
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  1. John Vail from PrizeLogic, July 23, 2013 at 1:57 p.m.

    Chuck, isn't it nice when technology and a sensible human using it combine for a great customer experience. Good for Macy's and better for you and your morning coffee!

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, July 23, 2013 at 2:01 p.m.

    Yes, John, that's a great description of what happened here. Still too rare these days.

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