Amazon is rolling out a new promotion tied to its Price Check app on December 10 that is sure to further infuriate the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). Users who perform a “price check” on an item inside a store using the app on their iPhone or Android device will receive an additional 5 percent discount (up to $5) off the Amazon price. How’s that for in-your-face to the brick-and-mortars across the nation? The new incentive is good on up to three qualifying items in categories like toys, electronics, sporting goods, music and DVDs.
“The ability to check prices on your mobile phone when you’re in a physical retail store is changing the way people shop,” said Sam Hall, director of Amazon Mobile. “Price transparency means that you can save money on the products you want and that’s a great thing for customers. Price Check in-store deals are another incentive to shop smart this holiday season.”
For the unfamiliar, Amazon’s Price Check app works in four ways: scan a barcode, snap a picture, say the product name, or type your search. Each method works as the names suggest. For example, by snapping a photo, Price Check will instantly match the picture to an item in Amazon’s inventory. Doing it this weekend will work the same way but immediately discount the item by 5 percent.
Of course, the app’s very existence is annoying the Retail Industry Leaders Association to no end because it feels the app poaches shoppers at the point of sale. In response to the Seattle-based company’s latest promotion, Katherine Lugar of the the RILA complained that Amazon’s pre-Internet tax loophole is resulting in a “perceived” price advantage over non-virtual retailers.
“Amazon’s aggressive promotion of its Price Check App shows the lengths they are willing to go to exploit this tax loophole, and is a stark reminder of why Congress needs to act to protect retailers on Main Street,” Lugar said. “A failure to act is an implicit endorsement of a subsidy of Amazon, a subsidy that distorts the free market and puts jobs on Main Street at risk.”
Consumers who plan to participate in Amazon’s new promotion will need to update Price Check to the latest version and also enable the geo-location feature within the app. In addition to the one day promotion, users can also submit in-store prices as a community feature that will allow Amazon customers to get great prices year-round.
“We scour online and in-store advertisements from other retailers, every day, year-round,” said Sam Gall, director of Amazon Mobile. “Now, we are enabling customers to use the Price Check app to share in-store prices while they search for the best deals. This is a powerful opportunity for customers to get involved and ensures Amazon customers get the best possible prices.”
When push comes to shove, consumers will do what’s best for them, whether that means being “poached” by Amazon, or finding a great deal at Target or Walmart.