Amazon is encouraging shoppers to do something retailers hate on Black Friday

An Amazon pop-up store on Black Friday. Getty/Alex McBride
  • Amazon is encouraging shoppers to use its app to find items in stores, but buy them online through its website this Black Friday.
  • The company is offering $US5 discounts on certain items through the app’s features, including barcode scan and camera search.
  • This offer directly encourages what is known as “showrooming” – customers going to stores just to see the item and then purchasing it online.

Amazon has a new plan to draw customers to its site this Black Friday.

In addition to its usual slew of discounts during Black Friday and the days immediately following and before, Amazon is offering a different kind of discount.

This year, it’s offering a coupon for $US5 off certain sale items just for using certain features on the Amazon app. Customers need only fire up the camera search or AR View features to nab the discount.

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To use camera search, customers have two options: either search by taking a picture of an item to search it on Amazon, or just take a picture of the barcode to look it up on the website. Search results will be instantly available, and if Amazon sells it, customers can choose to purchase instantly.

The discount tied to camera search is especially notable because it seems to explicitly encourage something many physical retailers fear: showrooming, or when customers come into a store to check out an item and then leave to purchase it online.

Amazon’s $US5 discount, plus a potentially cheaper Black Friday price than the one the store is offering, could be just enough to tip the decision to purchase into Amazon’s favour, especially when adding in the fact that Amazon has removed its free shipping minimum for all holiday purchases.

Amazon is also offering other options to get the $US5 discount, AR View. This uses the camera to render the item – usually a large one, like a piece of furniture – and see what it would actually look like in a shopper’s physical space.

Amazon has been offering Black Friday deals since November 16. On Saturday, its Cyber Monday deals will begin and last through the week.

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