Thursday, December 4, 2008

Amazon iPhone App and the In-Store/Online Dichotomy

Amazon launched an iPhone app that lets customers mail the online retailer a picture of an item they see in a store, according to a story published by InformationWeek. Amazon tries to match the item with something in its inventory (and other participating retailers) and then sends the results back to its customers.

While self-serving for Amazon in its current incarnation, retailers should co-opt this kind of application to help customers and keep them loyal. Maybe using barcode information instead of pictures, retailers could help customers find apparel in the right size or a different color than what they have in stock in particular location.

This would beat the customer trying to find the same product at a competing retailer or, worse, dealing with returns and customer frustration because the item they ordered online from home wasn't what they thought they were looking for.

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