While barcode scanning applications have been available to smartphone users for several years, the huge rise in consumers using the technology this holiday season shows that it is crossing over into the mainstream retail experience. So what is it?
Internet retail analysis site Ecommerce Junkie reported on December 8 that this year's holiday shopping season has seen a massive year-on-year rise in American shoppers using mobile scanning applications, with prominent US company Scanbuy Inc. reporting a 30 percent year-on-year rise in consumers using barcode scans in the first week of the season. The rise in the number of consumers using barcode scanning applications reflects the fact that this technology is leaving the realm of "tech junkies" and beginning to cross over into the everyday retail experience.
Essentially barcode scanning applications allow users visiting a brick and mortar store to use the barcode scanner to scan barcodes. The application will then link to price comparison sites and provide information on where the product is available for a lower price. This is changing the high street shopping experience into something that resembles internet shopping, eroding away brand loyalty, increasing the importance of price and giving consumers instant access to the best deals.
A large number of barcode scanning apps are currently available, including Barcodescanner and A Barcode Scanner for iPhone and Shopsavvy for ios and Android. Major online retailers such as Amazon and eBay, which recently acquired the Redlaser barcode scanner, also have their own barcode scanning applications. A number of other barcode scanning applications are also available.