Price Matching

price_match.jpgThe other day, just as I was leaving for a flight as it were, our washing machine died. Its about 10 years old so its not worth repairing, especially when we can get a more efficient front-loading model. So I did some research, found the best model in our price range, and found it on sale at Best Buy. But when my wife went to purchase it, they were out of stock. With three kids we could not go without a washer for three weeks so I asked my wife to try Home Depot and see if they would price match. It worked!

Price matching has gotten easier with the Web, and with smart phones it will get easier still. I recently read an interesting posting called Keep Your Barcode Scanner off My Merchandise over at AppsLab. The ShopSavvy mobile application discussed allows users to scan or enter the UPC of an item and get product information and price comparisons. Imagine scanning an item, showing the manager his competitors prices, and getting the price match. It couldn't be easier.

So I downloaded Snappr.Net, an iPhone application that does basically the same thing. Although I didn't have much luck with using the camera as barcode scanner, the rest of the application seemed to work well. Finally the in-store consumers may get to enjoy the rich information available on the Web. And of course retailers need to much more aware of their competition.

Comments:

Great story. You bring up a good point. Lots of retailers offer to match prices of other local or online stores; it's obviously a hedge. Put the effort on the customer to claim the "reward" of a cheaper price.

Barcode scanners and price comparison apps take away the barrier of effort, which I'm sure will elicit a reaction. The question is how soon until you start seeing two prices: 1 for in-store purchase only and 1 for price-matching. Kinda like different cash and credit gas prices.

Posted by Jake on December 11, 2008 at 08:39 AM CST #

Jake, most retailers have "challenge the competition" type processes where the store manager adjusts local prices on a weekly basis to be competitive. Tools like Snappr will help them too. Store vs store isn't new, but the basement prices you can get from the web complicate matters. Look for Price Match rules to get more complicated, for example excluding non-local competition. With 110% guarantees, one could make a legal living off buying and returning merchandise.

Posted by David on December 12, 2008 at 03:04 AM CST #

NeoMedia Technologies grandfathered this technology back in the mid 90’s and have been doing mobile code scanning and comparison shopping via UPC codes long before any other company in this space.

NeoMedia on ABC & NBC News circa 2004:
http://www.qode.com/videos/PaperClickOnAbc7.wmv
http://www.qode.com/videos/PaperClickOnNbc8.wmv

NeoMedia has a rich patent portfolio that covers scanning barcodes with a camera enabled mobile device to connect to the Internet, comparison shop, and/or retrieve online content.

http://www.neom.com/13.html

Posted by streetstylz on December 18, 2008 at 06:25 AM CST #

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David Dorf, Sr Director Technology Strategy for Oracle Retail, shares news and ideas about the retail industry with a focus on innovation and emerging technologies.


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