Smartphones have been a boon to many retailers in terms of sales. As more and more consumers flock to phones with more features, and higher price points, they have seen their sales rise, but have they unwittingly also aided in damaging their bottom lines as barcode scanning applications become all the rage?
If you go into the iOS App Store and do a search on “barcode”, you will find well over a hundred apps. All of them do some form of variation of price comparison, and all of them are striking fear, as well as hope, into brick and mortar retailers.
For those that have not yet experimented with these apps, using your smartphone’s camera you can take a picture of UPC barcode on a product and get listings of what the price is online and for stores located near you. Some will also let you type in the product if you can’t find the barcode to scan, and some will even let you speak the name of the item for even easier searching. In short, they bring the power of an easy Internet search to the palm of your hand so you can do comparison shopping while on the go.
According to a story from The Wall Street Journal last week, retailers are trying to find a way to not fear these applications as much as embrace them. Some apps such as TheFind are allowing retailers to advertise inside of the application when you search on a product in a competing store. Say you are in Walmart and you scan the UPC barcode on a Blu-ray player, an ad will appear from Best Buy telling you about the same model, or one similar to it. Of course these ads won’t do the retailer much good if the price isn’t lower than the ones found for online retailers.
I’ve been using ShopSavvy on my Android phone for ages now, and I have to say it has changed everything about the way I shop. If it’s a non-perishable item, which would be difficult to ship to me, I scan just about every item I even ponder buying. More than a few times I have put things back and simply ordered from my phone while still standing next to the item on the store shelf.
Where this is an issue is really going to be on your “mom and pop” stores. These businesses have already taken a hit due to the Internet, and now essentially having a customer walk into their shops with what amounts to every business in their world in their pocket, they’re going to have an even harder time selling to consumers. Everyone loves a bargain, but people need to remember that small businesses don’t have the buying power of larger chains so of course they can’t compete on price. This wouldn’t have even crossed my mind if I hadn’t seen it happen recently and the customer loudly proclaimed to the shop clerk how their store was such a rip-off when their phone had told them how much cheaper the item was elsewhere.
As a frugal buyer I love these apps, but as someone who has been on the frontline of a family owned business, I can only imagine the pain they are going through now.
What say you? Have you given these apps a try yet?
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra's Space Zoom camera is amazing and a bit creepy
The Galaxy S20 Ultra supports up to 100X zoom, which Samsung calls Space Zoom, but is it any good? Can a phone really product usable photos at 100x zoom? We've got our Galaxy S20 Ultra already so join us to find out!
Win an iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch with the Reader's Choice giveaway!
What's the best phone of 2019? Is it the iPhone 11 Pro, Pixel 4 or OnePlus 7T? What about the best laptop, games console, tablet and more? Vote NOW in the Reader's Choice awards and win BIG in time for the holidays!
Here are the best products from IFA 2019!
Here are the products announced at IFA 2019 that were worthy of our Best of IFA 2019 awards. Also featuring MrMobile's single best product at the show!
Your manicures will last for weeks when you choose the best gel nail polish
If you're looking for the best gel nail polish, you've come to the right place. Are you tired of manicures that chip after a couple of days? Gel nail polish lasts for weeks. Here are some of the best you can buy.