EBay this summer purchased RedLaser, a mobile app for scanning bar codes to compare prices online. Now eBay is announcing major updates to the app.
EBay today added product listings from the eBay marketplace as well as its Half.com marketplace—which sells books, textbooks, music, movies, video games, and video game consoles—to the app and also added two-dimensional bar code scanning capabilities. Scanning two-dimensional bar codes, also known as QR codes, enables shoppers to access more information than just prices, such as links to videos, product reviews or web sites, contact information for customer support, or calendar appointments for upcoming sporting events and concerts, eBay says.
“As more brands, retailers and sellers leverage QR codes to engage consumers with new and relevant content, we are providing our five million RedLaser users with more ways to scan. Our goal is to help consumers shop on their mobile phones, and QR codes provide customers with a new and fun way to learn more about products to assist in purchasing decisions,” says Steve Yankovich, eBay’s vice president of mobile and platform business solutions. “By offering consumers a host of reasons to use our apps, they are more likely to engage with eBay to purchase items from our marketplace.”
The RedLaser app enables in-store shoppers to comparison shop on the spot. A shopper opens her iPhone camera through the app and focuses it on a bar code; RedLaser scans the bar code, identifies the item, and displays product details and results from a web search for similar products. RedLaser has been downloaded more than five million times, according to eBay. Previously it cost $1.99, but eBay made the app free after it acquired RedLaser. Before adding eBay Marketplaces, RedLaser was already delivering product search results from Google and comparison shopping site TheFind as well as nutritional information from the DailyBurn.
In addition to QR scanning and the delivery of more product listings, eBay also has updated RedLaser’s software development kit to enable outside application developers to leverage vehicle identification number, or VIN, bar code scanning for vehicles; and use encoding for upper-case letters, digits and special characters that are often used in identification tags placed on high-end merchandise in offices such as laptops. EBay says the updates promote innovation in mobile commerce and will help it advance RedLaser’s product search and scanning capabilities.
EBay also announced today an update to the version of its U.S. m-commerce site optimized for the iPhone. The new site features auto-complete functionality for search, expandable swiping galleries for search results images and product pictures, and a new persistent menu bar that maintains key functions on the screen at all times. EBay worked with m-commerce technology vendor Netbiscuits Inc. on the new site.
EBay plans to launch a version of the new site for smartphones using Google Inc’s Android operating system soon. It plans to roll out the site internationally next year.
EBay projects $1.5 billion in gross merchandise volume through its mobile platforms for this year. That includes its m-commerce site as well its several apps for the iPhone, BlackBerry and Android devices.