Amazon Encouraging Mobile Shopping In-Store

Dec 08, 2011 7:48 PM  By

The warning signs about confident consumers shopping on Amazon while browsing your store’s merchandise have been evident, and now the ecommerce giant is encouraging smartphone owners to do so.

As an added incentive, Amazon is giving customers using Price Check on Saturday, Dec. 10, an additional 5% discount – up to $5 – off the its price on up to three qualifying items in toys, electronics, sporting goods, music and DVDs.

In effect, Amazon wants consumers to use your storefront as its showroom. And at least one retail association is up in arms over Amazon’s one-day promotion.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association reacted to a new smartphone App from that encourages holiday shoppers to use brick and mortar stores as showrooms to then purchase merchandise online from inside the store.

Central to this tactic is Amazon’s continued practice of using a pre-internet loophole to avoid state sales tax collection, a move RILA says gives Amazon an unfair competitive advantage over bricks-and-mortar retailers.

“Amazon’s aggressive promotion of its Price Check App shows the lengths they are willing to go to exploit this tax loophole, and is a stark reminder of why Congress needs to act to protect retailers on Main Street,” said Katherine Lugar, RILA’s executive vice president of public affairs, in a press release. “A failure to act is an implicit endorsement of a subsidy of Amazon, a subsidy that distorts the free market and puts jobs on Main Street at risk.”

Last month, Amazon and RILA both came out in support of the Marketplace Fairness Act, a federal bill introduced by U.S. Senators Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Michael B. Enzi (R-WY), that would create a constitutional framework for collecting sales tax online.

Use of smartphones to shop in the bricks-and-mortar environment by consumers is on the rise, according to survey results released today by mobile advertising company Verve Wireless. Of the 1,300 smartphone users polled, 81% have purchased a product or service online or in store after seeking information on their mobile device.

The poll also showed that consumers use their smartphone to look up information on price (48%), followed by product information (24%), reviews (14%) and where to buy (14%). The top three retailers users accessed on their mobile device (tablet and smartphone) are Amazon (63%), eBay (37%), and Target (35%).