Mobile Barcode Scanning in the Retail Environment

surveyOne of the major player's in the burgeoning mobile barcode industry, Scanbuy, recently conducted a survey regarding mobile barcode usage in the retail environment. The study's findings revealed that more than half of those surveyed had scanned a barcode while shopping.
  • 57% performed at least 1 scan
  • 40% performed five or more scans 40% never scanned, but would like to

Scanbuy reports these other key findings:

  • 97% of consumers found mobile barcodes useful in some capacity
  • 3% finding them "not very useful"
  • Price comparison was the most popular feature for consumers while shopping
  • Reviews and specific product offers also received strong interest
  • More than half of consumers said they'd most likely scan a barcode to look up prices online, but some also like getting information without finding a sales clerk
  • Over 60% stated they are most likely to scan barcodes (UPC and QR) from product packaging
  • 34% of respondents used iPhones
  • BlackBerry 29% and Android 27%

According to Mike Wehrs, CEO and President of Scanbuy, "The fact that 40% of those surveyed scanned a barcode five or more times, with an additional 40% interested in scanning in the future, shows the immediate interest and long-term potential that mobile barcodes have in the field of retail. They can be utilized by consumers and retailers both to make for a truly valuable shopping experience. These results also show that there is a wide variety of useful content we can provide that will help educate a shopper and assist in closing a sale wherever the shopper may be."

While this survey indicates a rise in mobile barcode usage in the retail environment, it should be noted that the majority of survey respondents were already in some way interested in Scanbuy as a company (whether Facebook fan, Twitter follower or on an email list), indicating at the very least an awareness in mobile barcode technology.

What this survey really speaks to is the efficacy and ease of use of the technology— those who have discovered it are loving it. How is it being discovered? That is the question I would like to see answered. How are consumers discovering that they are already in possession of a tool that could significantly improve their retail experience?

I'm writing this article in a bookstore. Three out of four of the people surrounding me have used a barcode app on their smartphones for shopping. When I asked where they heard about the technology, each stated some version of “a friend told me about it.” Not one person I've spoken to heard about mobile barcode technology from a retailer.

What I use mobile barcode scanning for primarily is to find a better price or a better product than the one in front of me. If I were a retailer, I would be frantically planning ways to leverage the technology to my advantage, compelling consumers to buy rather than leading them down the street or to Amazon. To combat this, many retailers (Best Buy, for example) are now offering price match.

David Javitch, VP of Marketing at Scanbuy, stated that the last two months have marked an upswing in retail engagement at Scanbuy. His recommendation to retailers: If you don't have an app, get one. If you do have one, add a barcode scanner.

The Point of Sale News, an online magazine dedicated to the retail industry.

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