Amazon encourages shoppers to leave retail stores empty-handed

By on December 8, 2011, 6:30 PM

Amazon is set to reveal a promotion this weekend which is raising eye brows. The online retailer asks that customers scan merchandise at local retailers using their mobile app. If you come back and buy that item from Amazon, the company will give you $5 off of each item you scan, up $15 total. One of the more contentious realizations made is that this also includes local book stores, businesses who are already being strangled by Amazon's growing tendrils of e-commerce.

The special promotion is said to be good for any item available on the company's site which covers one of the largest and diverse inventories on our fair planet. Although sources single out Amazon's "Price Check" app as the software to use, there is little reason to believe that Amazon's full featured "Amazon Mobile" app with its integrated bar code scanning function would not work also. For now though, let us assume Price Check is the best app to use.

As good as this may sound to the ears of most customers, physical retailers are up in arms over Amazon's promotion. The American Retail Industry Leaders' Association issued a statement which lambasted the company for leveraging its "pre-Internet tax loophole" in order to effectively poach customers at the point of sale. The organization then used the Price Check app as a clear example of why Congress needs to act quickly in order to protect local retailers. "A failure to act is an implicit endorsement of a subsidy of Amazon." a spokeswoman said.

In an earlier interview with the managing director of Waterstones, James Daunt said: "They never struck me as being a sort of business in the consumer's interest. They're a ruthless, money-making devil." He continued, "The computer screen is a terrible environment in which to select books. All that 'If you read this, you'll like that' – it's a dismal way to recommend books. A physical bookshop in which you browse, see, hold, touch and feel books is the environment you want."

The promotion should begin this Saturday. Amazon's Price Check app is available for iPhone and Android while Windows Phone 7 will have to hope the Amazon Mobile app works just as well.




User Comments: 19

Got something to say? Post a comment
Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I like the fact that water stones argument is that you need to be physically at the book store to really choose your book, yet the whole point of this is that amazon is encouraging you to go into the store and choose a book? Then just buy it off amazon? Or water stones lower there prices this weekend? That would have a adverse effect wouldn't it? If all companies lowered there prices to amazons level just when these promotions come out.

Guest said:

"The computer screen is a terrible environment in which to select books. All that 'If you read this, you'll like that' - it's a dismal way to recommend books. A physical bookshop in which you browse, see, hold, touch and feel books is the environment you want."

Just what I need, some jerk telling me what I want and how I am supposed to buy something. How about you let us decide what we want and where we are going to buy it from. The only reason I go to a local store is because sometimes I cant wait for a product or they might have a comparable price.

I understand supporting local business, but if they want me to shop there and "pay more" you have to give me a darn good reason. Innovate ways to draw people and make it worth my while to pay more. I know its better for your local economy, but they way we buy goods now are changing and local businesses have to change too.

AlienOverlord said:

"The computer screen is a terrible environment in which to select books. All that 'If you read this, you'll like that' ? it's a dismal way to recommend books. A physical bookshop in which you browse, see, hold, touch and feel books is the environment you want."

I'm glad he told me what i want because i wasn't sure.

DokkRokken said:

Is this really any different than a store saying they'll beat a competitors price?

It is cheeky, but I'm not sure it will work all that well. It means stores will get more foot traffic, and they can counter with their own deals. That $15 savings may be less attractive if the retailer offers a $10 gift card with a $50 purchase. And you get the product right there, and then.

Guest said:

Sounds like a stalemate with the environmental argument.

AMAZON requires a electrical device (e.gSmartphone) + burning of fossil fuels = more CO2

(WATERSTONES) books require paper to be printed on + less trees = more CO2

Guest said:

Yesterday I went to Chapters to buy a Dance with Dragons (George RR Martin), it was being sold for 38.99 CAD, and then found it for 25 $ on amazon.ca. Sorry but why in the world would I pay 14 $ more uh ? So that minimum wages employees can keep their cash ? All the bookstores in the world can close their doors I could care less as long as amazon ( 5 * service) and at least an online competitor stay I would be happy. I mean they wanted the freedom of setting their own prices, well in return the competition is free to crush them.

God Bless Capitalism !

PS: time to get that price app for my itouch ^^

Guest said:

These people are just scared of progress. They know the future is in online retail, but they refuse to admit it. And his claim that amazon doesn't have the consumer in mind is absolutely ridiculous. Amazon is just about the only company I've ever dealt with that I have nothing bad to say about. They are the model that all other consumer-driven companies should follow. I'm not the only one who thinks so either. Correct if i'm wrong but i'm pretty sure amazon was ranked number one in customer satisfaction out of like all companies every where. This is just another way amazon is pushing the envelope in online retail, and another reason they are the hugely successful company they are now.

Guest said:

So can I scan a six dollar book/item and get it for a buck? Is there limitations on this stuff?

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

If I actually walk in the store and see the item I want, I will walk out with the item I want. My whole point in buying on-line is so I can buy items that the local retailer doesn't have. If I could actually find the item I'm looking for at a local retailer, I wouldn't have a need in buying on-line.

Guest said:

The real question is, if we scan something for under $5 will Amazon pay us or give us a credit?

Mindwraith said:

local retailers need to step their game up, not beg for mercy

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Actually the best way of choosing anything to buy is to read the reviews online, not go into a shop and impulse buy something.

Guest said:

This is sarcasm right? You realize there are warehouses full of people paid to write reviews on www sites for products they have never even seen.

Guest said:

Exactly, I'll pay 5 dollars (even more) above the online cost if I can drive down and get it. Plus there is the issue of gas expenditure. Are people going to run all around town and waste all day, and burn up 10.00 of gas so they can save 15 dollars? I really doubt this is going to have any noticeable impact on retailers sales. People aren't that stupid... oh wait

Night Hacker Night Hacker said:

The book stores, oh, you mean the ones that charge Canadians more money for the books than Americans even though the Canadian $ is almost at par.... this sounds like a good business idea where the consumer wins out. It's why we have a competitive market, it drives the prices down.

Zilpha Zilpha said:

"The computer screen is a terrible environment in which to select books. All that 'If you read this, you'll like that' ? it's a dismal way to recommend books. A physical bookshop in which you browse, see, hold, touch and feel books is the environment you want."

Holy macaroni, speak for yourself, bro. That has to be the single most ignorant comment I have ever read in my entire life. That is exactly what I DON'T want - a bunch of other shoppers and possibly even store staff judging what books I buy. No thanks, I'll stick with amazon where I can browse through what I want while I enjoy my coffee.

Guest said:

Not compatible.. for Canadians... how ****ing stupid is that

:(

Esp since "stores" here rip off customers for books far worse!

Guest said:

Man these kind of demagogues by mom-and-pop store owners are at the same time hilarious and scary. Hopefully they are not rich nor numerous enough to get their ways in Congress. And, this is taken from the link to the statement website:

"RILA supports bipartisan legislation introduced in the House and in the Senate that would level the playing field and force all retailers to compete under the same rules. In a hearing last week before the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN) summed up the need for Congressional action by saying:

"I don't think Congress should be in the business of picking winners and losers. Inaction by Congress today results in a system today that does pick winners and losers."

Gruenwald, Juliana, "Congress Urged to Close Online Sales-Tax Loophole," National Journal, 11/30/11"

They must think we're stupid or something.

Guest said:

Actually, it's 5% off, up to $5.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000
49751

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.