Amazon’s surging popularity at the turn of the century permanently changed the landscape of the bookstore industry, leading to the closure of numerous chains that had held sway in this vertical for decades. Now, a former Borders executive is looking to take on the e-Commerce giant with PriceLocal, a service that offers price matches to products offered on Amazon Prime, which can then be purchased instead at local stores.
In founding PriceLocal, CEO Matt Chosid sought to turn showrooming on its head and drive consumers back into local stores to buy the products they want.
Shoppers can use the service by downloading a browser extension at GetPriceLocal.com. After installing PriceLocal for Chrome, Firefox or Safari on their desktop or laptop and finding a product on Amazon, users click the ‘PriceLocal’ button, sending a price match request to participating local stores.
If a local store has the item and is willing to match the Amazon price, shoppers will get a coupon for the item at that price, which they can print out or show on their phone when they go to the store.
PriceLocal is compatible with Amazon Prime products only, since these don’t include online shipping charges. (Amazon Prime membership includes free shipping.) Retailers can sign up on the PriceLocal web site to receive Amazon Prime price match requests from local shoppers. Neither retailers nor shoppers need to be members of Amazon Prime to use PriceLocal.
Last year, Chosid piloted the app in Ann Arbor, Mich. — the former home of Borders — and has since expanded it into Minneapolis, Minn., Charlotte, N.C., and Austin, Texas.
“Amazon is a juggernaut that impacts the ability of local retailers of all sizes to compete, while consumers have the perception that shopping locally will be more expensive,” said Chosid in a statement. “Shoppers can find and get something right away at a fair price while supporting the local economy. And local retailers can level the playing field with Amazon by turning local online traffic into increased sales and foot traffic.”