retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Sacramento Business Journal reports that a local start-up called ShoppingScout.com "lets users enter their location and compare prices for common grocery items at local stores," and the creators say that it "can save consumers up to 40 percent on shopping expenses."

According to the story, "The prices come from in-store auditors and web crawl data, as well as a from a crowdsourcing effort that lets users contribute updates to the website's prices."
KC's View:
The argument, which perhaps better could be called wishful thinking, is that manufacturers will love it because they'll be able to track pricing, and retailers will love it because it'll help them understand shopper behavior. But I'm not sure these arguments will fly outside the consumer community.

Not that it matters. This particular system may be focused on Northern California, but the fact is that these kinds of systems allow shoppers to make price-based decisions all over the country … which ramps up on the pressure to a) be sharp on price (though you never can be lowest on everything), and b) make sure you have differentiated products and services that make price less important, or at least not always the deciding factor. If retailers allow themselves to be forced into a corner by services such as ShoppingScout, then they're playing the other guy's game, and they can't win.