Amazon.com launched a price comparison application for the iPhone on November 22, four days before Black Friday. The free app allows consumers to say a product name, scan a barcode, or snap a picture of a product to receive price listings from Amazon and its partners.
The app culls prices from Amazon’s inventory, plus “tens of thousands of merchants” that sell on the Amazon platform, said Stacey Keller, PR manager at Amazon.com. After comparing prices on the app, consumers can purchase an item with one click.
Keller said the price check app does not currently include advertising, and doesn’t offer suggested products based on price searches or purchases. Amazon charges merchants that sell products through its site either 99 cents per sale or $39.99 a month for those expecting to sell more than 40 items per month. The company also assesses a “referral fee” based on the category of product sold.
Amazon’s price check app displays merchandise across all categories, including electronics, books and children’s items. It also includes customer reviews and sharing tools that use Twitter, Facebook, text and e-mail.
Pattie Freeman Evans, VP and research director at Forrester Research, said Amazon.com’s decision to include outside merchant listings reflects the company’s marketing strategy: to be a ubiquitous shopping destination for consumers.
“It’s an ecosystem play,” said Evans, adding that Amazon’s competitive pricing structure will, many times, provide the lowest price option for a given product.