Retailers Struggle to Join the 21st Century: Instant Price Match


This ReadWriteWeb story reports that barcode scanning applications on devices like the iPhone and the G1 are causing a stir among offline retailers.

I've seen such an app on the G1, but don't remember what it's called. On the iPhone there are apps like Checkout and Snappr. The big announcement today was that Amazon is releasing their own app called "Amazon Remembers" that's supposed to work from a picture of the product--not just a barcode.

The story on ReadWriteWeb reports:

Although consumers may be catching on to this barcode-scanning trend, some stores are still in the dark. For example, a Target store in Michigan recently requested a shopper to stop scanning merchandise, saying it went against store policy. The customer reported the event to the application's makers, Big in Japan, whose app Shop Savvy is a popular download for Android handsets.

Big in Japan called the Target store in question and spoke to the manager, who indicated that she was not aware of the policy. We also contacted Target's corporate headquarters to confirm Target's policy, or lack thereof, but we first had to explain the application to the company representative. They had never heard of such a thing before! (As it turns out, Target has no policy whatsoever on barcode scanning their merchandise.)

The same customer also noted they had visited Sam's Club, where they demonstrated the application to a store employee who seemed "confounded that such technology even existed," wrote the user.

From Stores Clueless About Mobile Barcode Scanning Applications? - ReadWriteWeb
Referenced Wed Dec 03 2008 15:07:57 GMT-0700 (MST)

Trying to fight instant price match is like trying to hold back the Mississippi. Retailers aren't going to be able to support artificially high prices based on information asymmetry anymore. I don't have an answer for them. But telling people they can't use their phone inside the store isn't going to cut it.