Interesting post on ReadWriteWeb about retail stores not grasping what appears to be a coming wave of customers using applications on mobile phones to do price checking via bar code scanning apps.
The T-Mobile G1 has an application that apparently (I haven’t tried the phone or the app) does it up right. Shop Savvy will scan the bar code and then tell you locations where you can get the goods cheaper.
The iPhone is behind the curve in this game, but Amazon.com this morning released (or did the Apple App Store release it?) an app that won’t do bar code scanning, but allows users to snap a picture, send it to Amazon and then see if the merchandise is available on Amazon or not. Intriguingly in my test I took a picture of the iPod Touch and it came back saying it couldn’t find the product.
There is also an app called SnapTell, that works on the iPhone and other mobile phones which at the moment will only check out pictures you take of books, CDs DVDs, or video game. Although I’m sure that will change if they continue development.
iPhone users are probably hoping they’ll get bar code scanning down the line as well, and I’m not sure if this is a hardware thing or can be done via software or firmware updates.
Whatever the case, I think we’re in for some interesting times ahead as apps like these become more prevalent, arming shoppers with greater tools to shop for bargains. I’m just wondering if once this catches on, we’ll see a backlash from retail outlets.
What do you think?