The Mobile Scanning Duel at Retail

by Chuck Martin on July 23, 2013

Mobile Keynote Speaker, Mobile Marketing SpeakerBy Chuck Martin

It all started with a broken coffee pot.

My trusty old Kitchen Aid died yesterday. It was rather expected eventually, since the unit was recalled several years ago.

I had two identical KitchenAid coffeemakers, one at home the other at a summer house. Although both had the same recall situation, the company replaced only one, for some reason.

I’m guessing they thought I only had one, so after unsuccessfully trying to get the second one replaced, I decided to just use it until it expired, which it did yesterday. In quite a huff, actually.

So off to Macy’s I went. And that’s where I ended up in a dueling scanner war with a salesperson. I mean in a good way.

As I roamed the aisle scanning barcodes on various coffeemakers, the salesperson approached and asked if he could help.

“I’m just scanning to check prices,” I told him.

“That’s what I figured,” he said.

“Do you price match?” I inquired.

“Yes,” he said. “Do you have an app for that? I‘ve been going to individual retailers’ websites to see their prices, but it would be a lot easier with an app.”

I recommended he try ShopSavvy, Amazon PriceCheck or RedLaser. He made a note and said that would make life a lot easier for him.

He asked me how soon I needed the coffeemaker. I told him now, since mine was toast and that’s why I was there shopping for one. I asked why he wanted to know that?

He told me everything was going on sale on Wednesday, so prices would be lower then. I reiterated that I needed the coffeemaker now.

He offered that since I was in such dire need, he could make an exception and give me the upcoming sale price.

That’s when he whipped out his official store scanner, which reminded me of a graphing calculator, loaded with buttons.

After he tapped in a few codes, he aimed his scanner at the Macy’s codes on the labels displayed as I flipped over boxes to scan the brand barcodes.

He said “$129. What’d you get?”

“Same,” I answered.

As we went through the process of scanning the respective codes on various coffeemakers and comparing prices from our respective scans, we settled on a Cuisinart coffeemaker.

Macy’s original price was $99.99. The salesperson’s scan showed the sale price on the coming Wednesday to be $69.99, for a $30 savings.

At checkout, he asked what price my scan showed, which found the same coffeemaker at RadioShack for $59.99.

“I didn’t know RadioShack sold coffeemakers, but I’ll match the price,” said the salesperson-as-shopper-advocate.

The few minutes of mutual scanning resulted in a 40% discount.

Salesperson scanning became part of customer service.

The duel was over.


Chuck Martin is Editor of the mCommerce Daily at MediaPost and writes the daily MobileShopTalk column. He is the author of “Mobile Influence,” “The Third Screen,” and “The Smartphone Handbook.” He is CEO of Mobile Future Institute. Chuck Martin is a frequent Mobile Keynote Speaker and Mobile Marketing Speaker internationally. He also addresses Social Media in Mobile.


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