Seven years ago, Amazon experimented with ‘Scan IT’ and ‘Snap IT’ features on its app for the US market which allowed users to scan barcodes or clicked pictures of offline products and buy it online via Amazon.
The Snap IT feature was very basic then and allowed to buy books, CDs, DVDs and video games only.
In 2014, the e-commerce giant re-launched a spruced-up search tool called Flow recognized far more stuff, including food and other household consumables.
The feature used image-recognition technology that’s similar to the Google’s search option available in Google’s mobile search apps.
Amazon is now testing ‘Scan IT’ and ‘Snap IT’ kinds of features among a small group of users on Android devices in India.
With barcode and image search-based features, it is aiming to capture the offline user base. The feature is also available on the iOS platform in India, but is restricted to limited products.
The idea seems to be a part of the O2O (offline to online) model in which players like Paytm has been delving for a long.
Amazon is also fully aware of the strategy. Through strategic investment and tie-ups, Amazon is making gradual inroads into offline retail in India. In September last year, it picked up a 5 per cent stake in Shoppers Stop for Rs 179.26 crore.
Online-only retail is not the solution
Last month, Paytm Mall, an online shopping platform, announced it is planning to launch a brick-and-mortar store co-branded with Red Tape shoes in Delhi. In the store, customers can walk in, scan product barcodes, browse and make purchases via its mobile app.
Last June, with an aim to get neighborhood stores and merchants onboard and online, the Noida-based e-commerce platform introduced O2O commerce feature on its platform.
The platform allows physical stores to display QR codes, allowing customers to scan the code, browse and shop from the store’s catalogue on Paytm Mall. The feature was aimed to enable better discovery of products and allow users the benefit of buying online from local stores, according to the e-commerce company.
Besides, other retail platforms have also shown leaning towards an omnichannel presence where they can leverage both the offline and online segment. Flipkart-owned Myntra and online furniture retailers Pepperfry and Urbanladder are also venturing into the offline world.
The development was first reported by Times of India.