Sunday, July 31, 2005

Price Comparison Through A Barcode Thoughts

Finally the press is discovering how the physical world will be connected through a cell phone through a barcode. It is disheartening to see both the press and the public fixated on one aspect of what can be done with this.

Price comparison shopping.

I equate this to Alexander Graham Bell inventing the telephone and somebody said “hey, we can now make prank calls!”.

This is remarkable stuff and this is the application people want to use it for?

The Internet has made all retailers more efficient with their pricing. The WalMart’s and supermarket chains all have spies that check prices of their competitors all the time.

Electronic devices? I just don’t see comparing prices on a big ticket item which is a NON-IMPULSE buy. Let’s just say you do decide to price compare a Sony DVD player at BestBuy.

You click the barcode, and find it’s 5$ cheaper at Circuit City. With gas prices at $3 a gallon, and the most common vehicle an SUV, is it REALLY CHEAPER?

Mobile marketing is just starting to kick in and more advertising dollars are going to mobile campaigns. Advertisers/brands are finding new ways to make shopping with their brand more rewarding.

I can’t see any brand manager asking, “is there any new exciting technology that we can use to shrink our margins?”

Yeah, I know what you’re going to say, “this is an application that puts the power in the hands of the consumer”. Yes it does, but what real value are you getting with this “power”.

Me, I’d rather click on the barcode of that DVD player and let them send me a free DVD from Amazon. How about clicking on the barcode (after I bought it) to register my info for a warranty. Maybe send me a MMS on how to install to my new High Def TV.

Those are just a couple examples of what you can do when the physical world gets connected. This is worth a lot more than the $5 I would have saved using a price comparison service.

Who knows, I betcha brand might actually work WITH a service like this.

I don’t see brands or mobile marketing companies getting anywhere near a price comparison service.

Think about it this way. The Internet came into existence, and what were the first applications people adopted, email and search. There’s this exciting new world out there and people had a thirst for knowledge and information.

Remember how many search engines there used to be? Sure you know all the names, Google, AskJeeves, Yahoo, AlltheWeb, A9 etc. There WERE many but the list has been consolidated.

Ask yourself to name one price comparison site……Not just Froogle. See what I mean?

So next time you hear a story about clicking on a barcode for price comparison, think of other forms of info that you would like to know about that product, besides who sells it cheaper.


Anonymous said...

You're absolutely right about this! Yet for now the press sees price comparison as the lowest common denominator to get consumer attention for their story because most people can relate to price comparison searches having already used their PC at home for searching/buying goods online. The sky's the limit for how creative thinkers will use this new found ability though. The jury hasn't even been seated at this point.

S Woodside said...

I think you are right on about this. I can see that there's a business model in price-comparison, but it's not a very interesting one.

Generally speaking interacting with existing UPC codes I think is fairly dull because the namespace is so small -- only 12 numeric digits -- so that you have to spend a lot of energy mapping each name onto some resource(s) like Froogle or whatever.

But it seem to keep showing up in the papers. I guess that it is just easy to understand as the previous poster said.

Anonymous said...

Your challenge 'think of other forms of info that you would like to know about that product, besides who sells it cheaper' is the classic one facing brand managers. How to sell more w/o reducing prices and promoting? The answer is innovatation, product service, customer service, relevancy to target. That takes longer and is harder - but that is what people want.

No Name said...

As John Lennon said in Imagine, "it's easy if you try".

There are countless applications that come from connecting the physical world..

With the right incentive, I'd be happy to share them...

Unknown said...

yes man you are right i quite agree with you. companies are not at all giving importance to these as i cpmare the prices of the mobiles all round the world. but i think we have to keep trying
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Anonymous said...

Some prices are 2 or 3 times what other prices are. A barcode comparison at the site is cheaper than driving around from store to store. Save energy and help reduce vehicle emissions is the way to do things. Super cudos to the barcode comparison on the smart phone.

Price Comparison said...

I think it's important to have a barcode since it can help us track the items more easily and it can also reduce shoplifting by means of swapping price tags.