Interactive Shopping and Barcode Apps Spreading Fast

Feb 22, 2011 — Allan Pulga

Smartphones continue to change the way people shop, as customers can often be seen comparing prices and looking up product reviews on their phones while browsing in-store (see Connected Shoppers).

And as All Things Digital columnist Tricia Duryee reports, a new interactive shopping app is giving users easier access to millions of product reviews at once, helping them decide on the spot whether to buy or walk out empty-handed.

“SearchReviews is launching an application today (Feb. 15) that provides input on the go, by aggregating more than 36 million customer reviews from more than 1,000 sites around the web,” she wrote. “Reviews come from sites like TripAdvisor, eBay, Sephora, Wal-Mart, Amazon, Zappos and QVC.”

The app, available on iPhone and Android phones, works a lot like others already on the market: A user scans a product’s barcode (traditional UPC, or 1D barcode) and receives a list of reviews to choose from. “Other apps on in the market today from Amazon, Google and eBay are similar, but SearchReviews is hoping to stand out by having the most reviews,” adds Duryee. “The other apps tend to focus on price comparison.”

SearchReviews is a Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup, founded by Ankesh Kumar last September. Kumar put up $350,000 of his own money to get the company off the ground.

2D Code App Use Growing Rapidly

Recent stats from Scanbuy Inc. indicate that mobile barcodes (also known as QR – Quick Response – codes or 2D codes) became 1,600 percent more popular in 2010, and usage actually doubled during the fourth quarter of last year, reported Dan Butcher of Mobile Commerce Daily (Jan. 11).

2D codes are the square black-and-white boxes you see on advertisements everywhere nowadays. Smartphone users can take a photo of the 2D code and use an app to access more information about the advertised product or service. Essentially, it saves users from having to type in a long website URL to access more information: They take a photo, open it with the mobile barcode scanning app and the app takes them directly to a mobile landing page.

Scanbuy estimates 15-25 million U.S. consumers regularly scan mobile barcodes. “Mobile barcode scanning is growing at a very rapid pace,” said Scanbuy CEO Mike Wehrs in Butcher’s article. “It is now starting to move out of the early-adopter stage.”

Jamie Turner: 10 Ways to Put 2D Codes to Work for Your Business

Jamie Turner of Mashable.com recently identified 10 ways 2D codes could add to your company’s marketing strategy:

1. “Hello, My Name Is” tags: Allow new acquaintances to learn more about you, your position, your background, etc.

2. Outdoor billboards: Send visitors directly to a campaign page, as opposed to the company landing page.

3. Websites: Add a 2D code to your “Contact Us” page.

4. Business cards: An easy way for people to download all your contact info.

5. Books, articles and eBooks: Direct people to social media related to your publications.

6. Webinars: Add a 2D code to your presentation to get your audience involved.

7. LinkedIn and Facebook pages: Position yourself as a tech-savvy professional.

8. T-Shirts: Good for prizes and product giveaways.

9. In-store posters with coupons: Special discounts to be scanned at the till.

10. Dial a phone number: A 2D code can let users instantly dial in to order your product.

**XQ, iQmetrix’s new Interactive Retail platform, transforms the in-store experience with a suite of dynamic digital media solutions that entertain, educate and guide shoppers through the process of buying a mobile device. With customer facing screens, touch screens and interactive product displays, wireless retailers can draw shoppers in and provide a remarkable experience they’ll be sure to talk about with family and friends.

To learn more about XQ Interactive Retail, visit www.iQmetrix.com/products/xq, e-mail sales@iQmetrix.com or call 1-866-iQmetrix (476-3874).

Topics: Retail Operations, Mobile Industry

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