Retailers need to integrate mobile to fight against eBay's most recent in-store mobile commerce disruption

by Dan Verhaeghe | Technology

Ever been at the cashier figuring you could look up a coupon on your smartphone and present it rather than printing it? Not the case at most retail stores still. 

Stores have basic barcode scanners that can only read product barcodes on product packaging. However, in order for the barcode scanner to effectively scan barcodes off smartphone and tablet screens, they must be optical in order to register a reduction off the original price. However, most stores have just standard barcode scanners. 

That might explain why I'm still getting three envelopes full of coupons in the mailbox every week.

Retailers therefore would have to upgrade their point-of-sale technology for what is first considered to be a losing money proposition- especially if the store doesn't carry a lot of inventory in the first place. A lot of retailers are able to offer coupons with the expectation that you will buy more than just the products on sale via coupon. 

Alternatively, NFC and RFID technologies could potentially be used- but this also requires a POS upgrade as well- companies like Shopkick give you rewards for scanning products in stores through their app, but it's not tied into the point-of-sale systems. 

The most savvy consumer doesn't want to print out or bring the coupons to the store. They want them on-demand.

As a result, it is becoming especially critical in retail to include an all-in-one solution as your smartphone will become your mobile wallet sooner than later in Canada.

Retailers should beware that if they do not, they could lose millions because eBay owned RedLaser, a popular barcode scanning app, recently announced that you can look up competitive prices on items in-store and purchase it right through your smartphone via mobile commerce.

If retailers don't harmonize all aspects of mobile in-store, traditional storefronts could be on the way out in some competitive industries. 

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Dan Verhaeghe

Dan Verhaeghe

Dan Verhaeghe focuses on marketing, mobile, major technology players, entertainment, and new media. Dan has a dozen years of online experience that dates back to the turn of the millennium where he dominated a now non-existent online RPG game for a couple of years at the age of 15. He would eventually become a Toronto Blue Jays blogger who earned his way into Toronto's CP24 studios six years... more

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