Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Comparison Shopping With Camera Phone

While I applaud the major media for exposing Scanbuy and the physical world connection, I wish they would use another example from it besides comparison shopping.

From Christian Science Monitor A new way to shop by phone

Many times, after returning home with my purchase, I discover (thanks to an ad in the newspaper or an Internet search) that I paid too much.

Lo and behold, that technology now exists. It's called Scanbuy Shopper. And some very smart people are suggesting that it has a very bright future that will make many retailers very, very nervous.

According to the New York company's website (, Scanbuy is a technology that "enables camera phones to capture and immediately decode printed or electronically displayed bar codes." Currently it works best with books, electronic equipment, and CDs.

When you're in a store and find an item of interest, simply take a picture of its bar code using an Internet-capable cellphone with a built-in camera. Then connect to the Web. (You don't have to take a picture.

Instead, you can just punch the bar-code numbers into the phone.) Scanbuy checks prices at comparison-shopping websites such as and's Marketplace. It then sends you information on the best prices.

But as I mentioned earlier, some people see bigger things in Scanbuy's future, particularly working with the search industry's 800-pound gorilla, Google

1 comment:

Ron said...

Scott, although lots of things are possible with scanning barcodes with a phone comparison shopping is the killer application. You simply copy Kelkoo's business model to the mobile phone but..... who will open up its database? Online shops will and do right now and you can give them a channel to compete with offline retailers and eventualy offline retailers will follow because you can think of comparison shoping between online shops, the shop you are in and shops within a defined area.

-Customer empowering and freedom of choice- I am loving it.

Smart retailers will not only compete on price but also on service, stupid retailers will kick scanning customers out of the door :-)

Although succes is obvious, rolling out this business proved to be very difficult, does somebody knows why???