World — 29 November 2010
Smartphone barcode reader helps Christmas shoppers choose

Smartphone barcode reader helps Christmas shoppers choose...

Trying to decide what gifts to buy this holiday shopping season could get a whole lot easier if you own a smartphone such as the iPhone, BlackBerry or any Android cellphone as well as a large number of Java and BREW mobile phones.

There is a clever little App called ScanLife available for smartphones. It turns them into barcode readers that can read the UPC codes on just about every product sold in every store. Each barcode brings up a wide variety of information that gives shoppers exactly what they need to make smart decisions.

If Santa himself could choose a new technology to help him pick the right gift for who’s been naughty and who’s been nice, it would be UPC codes that can be easily read by using apps on smartphones.

Barcode scanning via mobile devices has grown tenfold in 2010. Thanksgiving Day saw twice the average number of daily scans by consumers and during Black Friday’s shopping frenzy, barcode scans shot up by 20 times the daily average.

“As consumers hit the shopping isles for Black Friday, and follow up with online purchases on Cyber Monday, mobile barcodes play a pivotal role in helping savvy shoppers compare prices and choose the best gifts,” said Mike Wehrs, CEO of Scanbuy, a mobile leader in 1D and 2D barcodes.

“Barcodes offer the capability to extend the consumer-purchasing decision far beyond the small product placard on the store shelf,” he said.

Here are some of the ways UPC codes can help shoppers gain an advantage this Christmas holiday shopping season:

  • They find a popular item at their local store, but the price is too high. By scanning a barcode at the store, they can see a list of online retailers who are selling the same product at a lower price. They can then use this information to cajole the store to price match.
  • Sometimes shoppers want the “hot product,” the one that is nearly impossible to find. Scanning a barcode will find a list of retailers selling that product in the area, complete with store inventory. This is perfect for last-minute shoppers.
  • Books and DVDs are always popular gifts, but what are people saying about the latest releases? Simply scan a barcode and immediately see if The Expendables or Eat, Pray, Love is the better stocking-stuffer this year.
  • For shoppers who love to brag about an amazing deal they found, scanning the barcode will enable them to share it with friends on Facebook.

Mr Wehrs claims shoppers who use UPC codes will be less stressed, will save money and will make their friends and family happy by buying them exactly what they want.

To get the ScanLife reader software, visit from a desktop or laptop computer, or from a mobile browser.

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Editor’s note: You may also like this related article: /aisle411-app-for-iphone-and-smartphones-helps-you-shop-smarter-video-885215.html


About Author

David Harvey, Editor

David Harvey left school at 17 and went straight into newspapers as a cadet reporter. (He also a keen photographer and learned both trades.) He worked as a photojournalist in Hong Kong and as a war correspondent in Vietnam during the war. He moved to Australia in the late 1970s and got involved in I.T. during the mid-80s. This website is his latest venture here, combining news-gathering with the power of the internet. See: news-reporter

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