Can You Ban Customers From Comparison Shopping?

from the good-luck-with-that... dept

While Korean bookstores are worried about students photographing textbooks with camera phones, according to Alan Reiter, Dick’s Sporting Goods is claiming to ban customers from using camera phones to stop them from comparison shopping. Why don’t they just scream out that they’re more expensive and to avoid them in the first place? While a store can decide which customers they want to serve, it seems particularly anti-customer to tell your customers they can’t use a camera phone in your store. While I don’t have a camera phone, I do often use my phone to look up more information about products I am looking at in a store, and it’s helped convince me to buy a product quite a few times (though, the opposite is also true). Under the rules at Dick’s Sporting Goods, apparently, they’d kick me out of the store for trying to be a more informed shopper. Companies can try to target just the dumb shoppers, but with the ease of information transfer these days, they’re looking at a shrinking market. Update: Alan Reiter has updated the post, following a conversation with execs at Dick’s Sporting Goods who claim they have no such policy in place. It’s unclear if the reporter jumped to conclusions, though it is completely possible.

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Comments on “Can You Ban Customers From Comparison Shopping?”

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Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:

Re: No Sense at All

Well, if you write down the price, you don’t accidentally record an image of other customers, possibly out in public with people they don’t want to be seen with, or at least not be recorded as being with.

I doubt seriously that the camera phone ban has anything to do with comparison shopping and everything to do with protecting the perceived rights of individuals.

thecaptain says:

Re: Re: No Sense at All

Well the article is pretty specific in reporting the fact that the company is in effect trying to hinder comparison shopping.

As for accidentally recording an image of other customers, in a public place isn’t that legal? Something about “reasonable expectation of privacy” or something? (I honestly do not know, I only know that in Canada, I can snap away all I want without a problem as long as the pics aren’t used for commercial ventures…ie: I can’t take pics of pretty girls and sell them on the net, but they can’t arrest me for taking pictures of people walking around the tourist sites)

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

No surprise. There was an article than ran a month or two ago on Best Buy basically ignoring or chasing away customers who are ‘bargain shoppers only’. With the technology they are getting better data and realizing that people are only buying the deals (often loss leaders) and shopping elsewhere for better prices.

With the glut of choices out there why are they surprised that people do bargain shopping ? There is so very little left of the ‘customer experience’, most stores are only differiated by price these days … and with the information highway so wide open, it’s easy, smart, and economical to shop in a variety of places.

On the other hand, I’m in favor of banning Cell Phones in public places on general principles … I’m close to wanting to shove one down someone’s throat who feels it’s important to share their conversation with everyone around them.

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