December 22, 2011, 11:28 AM
Blogger

While some still cry, others fight back

Bill Siwicki

Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce

Lead Photo

The Amazon app some store retailers are crying about.

I had such a laugh when the Retail Industry Leaders Association two weeks ago cried foul over Amazon.com Inc.’s Amazon Price Check app. Welcome to the 21st century, folks. Welcome to the mobile revolution. The genie’s out of the bottle and you can’t stuff it back in.

The Amazon Price Check app enables consumers to use their smartphones to scan the bar code on a product in a store and automatically see Amazon.com’s product information and price on that item. The app essentially turns a store into a showroom for Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Mobile Commerce Top 300. That’s one of the smartest plays in mobile commerce today.

What really irked some store retailers was a promotion Amazon.com ran this month. Scan a product and receive $5 off the Amazon price. And a consumer could do that three times. Nice.

But now the creators of an app that has been in business since July are fighting mobile with mobile. Taap.it Live Local, free in the Apple Inc. and Android app stores, has this year signed up more than 5,000 small, local merchants in New York City, it says. The merchants offer their goods via the app; consumers can buy through the app and have products shipped to them or pick up products at the stores.

Effective yesterday, Taap.it is offering $10 off select items, double Amazon’s offer. This is what I was talking about in my Dec. 8 blog post about the Retail Industry Leaders Association’s laughable pronouncement. Store retailers have to use mobile technology to counter other retailer’s mobile moves. Taap.it is the perfect example of this.

And there’s much more retailers can do. Place 2-D bar codes on signs in stores that when scanned lead to mobile web-based content that showcases special in-store offers. Launch a mobile app that includes tools like an outfit builder that encourages customers to piece together multiple items in a set that can’t be beat by a web-only retailer trying to muscle into the store with its mobile app. Do like Orbitz has done and launch mobile-only deals, offers that not only beat those from other retailers found on price comparison scanning apps but also the offers found in your own store.

Stop crying and fight back. Mobile is here to stay and it will only be getting more powerful. Kudos to Taap.it, a real fighter.

Comments | 2 Responses

  • Success in retail is not based on driving sales volume. Using a mobile app to compete with Amazon who can afford to give away margin is not a long term strategy to combat the mobile price shopping challenge. One way to succeed is to offer unique products that do not allow the consumer to compare. Think of the mattress industry which does not seem like an obvious example. Each store sells identical products but has a unique item name which makes it almost impossible for a consumer to compare price. Another good example is the trend toward private label or unique branded relationships with celebrities. If I ran a retail business I would be very concerned. This is harder in categories like electronics but large retailers may be able to find a way using their buying power to gain exclusive product lines from manufacturers that want to buy floor space. I agree to stop crying but also don't panic and copy the early mobile adopters like Amazon.

  • Sounds interesting but not finding the Android app..

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