Amazon recently updated its iPhone and Android applications to include the showrooming service Flow.
Amazon’s mobile application has incorporated showrooming features through barcode scanning for some time now, but the new feature will allow for product detection by simply taking a picture of the item. Flow was released recently as a stand-alone application for iOS users, and is now also an integrated feature in Amazon’s primary shopping app.
The feature lets Amazon users take a picture of an item, and according the shape, packaging, color, and brand text the app will return relevant search results, similar to Google Goggles.
Showrooming has become quite common in the US. Some online retailers like Bonobos and Warby Parkers have even gone as far as to open their own showrooms to allow users to physically touch and try the products prior to purchasing them. As Amazon does not have any physical locations it relies on other retail locations to act as showrooms. Retailers have responded to Amazon’s showrooming promotions. Best Buy for example stopped holding Amazon Kindle Ereaders and tablets and began internal showrooming promotions. Best Buy customers equipped with a smartphone and the Best Buy app can scan products from within a store and load a virtual cart with discounts and incentives.
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There are some issues that need to be sorted by Amazon’s developers. Users are complaining about results returning larger items than scanned. For example, scans of a 5 ounce bottle of Tabasco returned results for the larger 128 ounce bottle. Whether this is a glitch or simply clever marketing is not certain, but in order to have more users use the feature Amazon will have to rectify the matter.
The updated Amazon application is now available for Android and iOS users in their respective app stores.