Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Amazon's iPhone app - war declared on traditional retailers?

I was in the US in July, and while I was shopping at a couple of places, I saw a few things that I really liked (a book, two kids toys) but that I didn't want to buy and have to carry home. So I took photos with my phone, and added them to my Amazon basket when I got home. The shops didn't see what I was doing; one store, the museum shop at Moma in San Francisco specifically bans photography. I did feel a bit guilty while I was doing it, but I did buy other, smaller things in both shops.

Anyway... Amazon has now made this much easier by creating an iPhone app:

"Use Amazon Remembers to create a visual list of things you want to remember when you're out and about. Photos you take from the app are stored on both the Amazon app, and the site as reminders.

If the item you want to remember is a product, Amazon will try to find an item for sale like the one in the photo. If we do, we'll send you an email alert, and post the result along with the original photo."

This formalises what people have been doing for years, but you can imagine that retailers will be very annoyed. There are also lots of price comparison apps on the iPhone, letting people scan bar codes compare to prices in local stores and online.

Expect to see lots of signs banning taking photos and scanning in-store!

Thanks to the ArsTechnica & AdverLab for the tip!

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