Shopping at Amazon's new physical store requires an app →

Though Quartz seems to find this a bit odd, it is the first time Amazon’s new brick and mortar bookstore has made sense to me. Quartz, emphasis added:

Around the aisles, signs tout the fact that in-store prices are the same as they are online. And here’s how you find those prices: You can use the Amazon app to scan the cover of the book or a barcode listed near the book; take the book to a price-checking station; or ask an employee to scan the book for you. That’s because in-store prices fluctuate just as they do on the website.

Showrooming is a problem for most brick and mortar retailers, certainly the large ones, and it is simultaneously very good for the likes of Amazon. Perhaps some goals of this experiment for Amazon are:

  • to introduce people to the idea of showrooming
  • encourage the practice
  • get a close up view watching closely how people actually do it in the real world

If you don’t think about their store as your regular neighborhood bookstore (remember those?) then it makes sense. This is a potential data-mine for Amazon; the information they learn from data collected could make them a lot more money, applied to their entire business, than any incidental product sales that happen there.