A new e-commerce site called PriceLocal launched in five metro areas Tuesday, including Charlotte. The service lets shoppers browse for products on Amazon, then connects them with local retailers who will match Amazon’s low price.
The service was started by Borders former general counsel Matt Chosid, who was inspired to launch the new business when the bookstore chain folded. He launched PriceLocal last year in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Tuesday in Austin, Denver, Twin Cities, Columbus and Charlotte.
Chosid said the service reverses the habit of “showrooming” (browsing in a local store and buying the product online), which can hurt small local businesses.
PriceLocal’s launch comes just ahead of the important holiday shopping season, which retailers depend on for nearly one-fifth of their annual sales, according to the National Retail Federation. Brick-and-mortar retailers have felt the pinch as consumers’ preferences shift and more transactions are done online.
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Shoppers can use the service by going to getpricelocal.com. After installing the PriceLocal extension in their browser, they’re supposed to click on the “PriceLocal” button, which sends a price match request to participating local stores, the company said. If a local retailer has the item at the Amazon price, shoppers get a coupon, which they can print out or show on their phone when they go to the store.
(When I signed up for the service Tuesday morning and went to Amazon.com, a banner popped up telling me most participating PriceLocal stores respond to price match requests in less than an hour.)
Retailers sign up at getpricelocal.com/retailers/sign_up. Stores, after they sign up, receive Amazon Prime price match requests from shoppers.
The service is free to shoppers and retailers.