Amazon.com created a “Price Check” app for the iPhone and Android, which allows shoppers to scan the bar code of items they find in brick-and-mortar retail locations like Walmart and Best Buy in order to get 5% off on those same items on Amazon.com. Amazon.com does not pay for expensive retail space, or employ an army of clerks and cashiers, so their prices on popular items are often lower than the competition to begin with–the 5% discount will continue to drop the already low prices and could be more than some retailers are able to compete with.
The amount shoppers can save on any given item with the Price Check app is $5. Retailers and related associations across the United States are calling foul on Amazon, stating that the new Price Check app gives Amazon.com an unfair advantage and “steals” business from brick-and-mortar retailers; this in turn hurts the local state economies that those brick-and-mortar retailers operate in, because the California based Amazon.com is not required to collect state taxes on purchases made by residents of states that Amazon.com doesn’t have a physical presence in.
Recent reports by ComScore state that 26% of shoppers use their mobile phones to scan bar codes and compare prices online. Amazon.com is capitalizing on this trend by not only showing consumers that they have lower prices, but offering them an additional discount as well. Amazon.com is also able to collect massive amounts of data from their competitors using the bar codes consumers scan, which will presumably aid their marketing efforts in the future.