Friday, May 06, 2005

Scanbuy A Breakout Company In 2005

From Fortune magazine 25 Breakout companies 2005 .

Bargain hunters have a new ally: the cellphone. Soon it will be easy to walk into a store, point your camera phone at the bar code on a product, and within seconds find the same item online for a comparable or better price.

Consumer bar-code technology, already common in Japan, is about to hit the U.S., says Olivier Attia. His 13-person company, Scanbuy , offers what he calls scancommerce software, which links any bar code to the Internet via camera phones.

(The square code—above left—is designed to be especially phone-friendly.) The Nokia Series 60 and other phones can read the codes; they connect users to Amazon or PriceGrabber websites.

I think GPS will play a e huge role in this ability. I explain how here .

Before rushing to the mall, customers must download ScanZoom, Scanbuy's free software, to their cells.

I just don't see people downloading software to the phones yet. In order for mass adoption, in my opinion, the application has to be on the phone already, or an incentive has to be so great for people to take the time to download.

I also don't see price comparison being that big with your cell phone. Will you compare prices on cereal, books, DVD's, TV's, cars? As the price of the item goes up, the more time I will take in making my purchase. So there's an inverse relationship between price and the impulse to buy.

Scanbuy makes money by selling decoding technology to handset makers and by taking a cut from online retailers when goods are purchased via ScanZoom. Attia says he'll know he's arrived when "the sign outside the store reads no pets, no food, and no bar-code scanning." — Julie Schlosser

If you want to create a killer app from barcodes, allow the phone to scan a barcode and retrieve information about the product, not just a Froogle like application.

I did an interview with Scanbuy here .

The 25 List .


Rick said...

1) Scan a book at the library, and see how much it is on line, and order it.
2) Turn that around. Looking at something in the store, scan it, combine
with the google/world cat service, and find the closest library that has it.
Reserve it, and pick it up on the way home.

Anonymous said...

While one may not scan/price compare for a box of cereal, what one would do is while browing your local Bestbuy/Cirucit City and are tempted to buy an MP3 player on sale, a quick check with your cell phone would enable you to know if the price is really that good. Of course enabling location based services could also let me know the best price in an certain radius too. Brick and mortar still accounts for the largest chunk of sales and the ability to price compare in the "real world" is a useful feature