New Amazon App Feature Further Streamlines Shopping - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

New Amazon App Feature Further Streamlines Shopping

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Retailers, always looking for ways to capture the busy shopper. Amazon is no different, and the online retailer has developed yet another way to shop with a new feature on their mobile app.

It allows users to scan an item with their phone, then buy it in one click.

"One of the things that shoppers are looking for is this notion of hyper-efficiency. We're extremely busy. So anything that tries to help with that business factor is going to be looked upon positively," said Mary Beth Pinto, professor of marketing at Penn State Behrend.

"In the tech industry, if you're not changing, you're dead, so it's always innovation, innovation, innovation," Pinto said.

Well now Amazon has made it so that you, the shopper, don't even need to type anything into the search bar.
    
The feature is called "flow" within Amazon's official app, and shows up as an option when the user clicks the search bar.

Blue dots pop up on the screen and uses image recognition to decipher the product in front of you. Commonly used items like toothpaste, cleaning products, or even ketchup and mustard, only take about a second to find.

Shoppers we found in-store at Target seemed pretty impressed with the app's new feature after WICU/WSEE gave them a demo.

"I think it's a great idea. It's very convenient for the consumer, and also looks like it would save us some money. It's amazing how far technology has come," said Michael Knocewicz, an Erie resident.

"I'm excited about it. It seems like it'd be a lot faster than researching, going back, and trying to find the best deal," said Katrina Hecker, another Erie resident." 

For some items, the app also shows bulk buying options.

The app does bring another layer of competition to physical stores, especially mom-and-pop stores like Kraus Department Store in Erie at 8th and Parade.

"More competition now, it's going to make me sharpen my pencil even sharper," said Tom Nowosielski, one of the Kraus store owners. The store has been open since1886, making it 128 years old this year.

But Kraus' is finding ways to adapt too.

"We have a website now, which I thought we'd never have, so we're going with the times. It's get on board or get left behind," Nowosielski said.

There are still some glitches with the app - for example, it returned results of an exfoliating product when scanning a bottle of Jergens lotion.

And of course, there's still the wait factor that comes with online shopping.

"If I need it today though, this isn't going to help me. So if I'm out of toilet paper, I'm certainly not going to wait two days to get it," Pinto said.

With Amazon's 60-minute drone delivery supposedly in the works though, who knows what's to come.

The updated feature in Amazon's mobile app is currently only available on Apple products.

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