Lest you have any doubt about Amazon's mercenary impulses, look no further than the company's new promotional campaign, which offers shoppers $5 off any online purchase this Saturday if they help gather "price intelligence" at brick and mortar stores, online journal All Things D reports. Here's how it works: A shopper goes into a store, scans the barcode of any item using Amazon's new Price Check App (which is available for iPhone and Android), and submits the price to Amazon so the online retailer can do an instant comparison.
That helps Amazon ensure that it's offering the lowest prices, and that it has a stranglehold on the marketplace. Price Check and other mobile applications have allowed e-commerce to thrive in a bad economy, with "mobile" sales jumping to 6.6 percent on the Monday after Thanksgiving this year (so named "Cyber Monday"), according to reporter Tricia Duryee. With eBay directing energies to its similarly lucrative PayPal unit, it looks like mobile revenues might surge this Christmas. Yet to brick and mortar merchants, that's no cause for merriment.
Clarification: A previous version of this blog credited The Wall Street Journal for first reporting this story. The source was actually All Things D, a Dow Jones company publication.