December 7, 2010, 3:31 PM

The rise of bar code shopping

Consumers generated 30 times more mobile bar code scans during Thanksgiving week using an app called ScanLife. The year-over-year increase shows that mobile bar code scanning is catching on with some shoppers. Toys attracted the most scans by product category.

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1-D and 2-D bar code technology provider Scanbuy Inc.’s ScanLife mobile app generated 30 times more scans by consumers during the first week of the holiday shopping season than it did during the same period last year, and product purchases through referrals to retailers’ sites from the app were up almost three times on Nov. 26 (Black Friday, the busy day after Thanksgiving) and Nov. 27.

Books was the most purchased category, followed by electronics, then housewares. Toys was the most scanned category, followed by electronics, then books. The majority of products purchased were in the $10-$30 range. Scanbuy did not say how many items were purchased or scanned.

“We’re pleased so far by the data we see in terms of mobile bar code scans this holiday season,” says Mike Wehrs, CEO and president of Scanbuy. “We look forward to these strong numbers persisting as consumers continue to see the benefits in mobile bar code scanning and continue to shop using them and spreading the message to their friends about the benefits of mobile bar code scanning while shopping.”

Scanbuy’s ScanLife mobile app is free to consumers and has been downloaded more than four million times, the company says. The 2-D version of the app is available for phones running various mobile operating systems, including Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Symbian and Windows. The 1-D and 2-D version is available on Android, BlackBerry and iPhone devices.

A 1-D bar code is a horizontal set of vertical lines and numbers that identifies a specific product; a common 1-D bar code is the UPC, or Universal Product Code. 2-D bar codes are squares containing patterns that can hold much more information than a 1-D bar code and, when scanned, link a consumer to content such as customer reviews or a video. A common 2-D bar code is the QR, or Quick Response code.

Scanbuy earns commissions on sales or clicks it delivers to a retailer through ScanLife.

Scanbuy’s core business is creating 2-D bar code marketing campaigns for companies in numerous industries, including retail. Clients include Gap Inc., Target Corp. and UPS Inc.

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