August 2, 2011, 11:34 AM

An outdoors merchant is on the hunt for iPhone and Android users

Cabela’s launches a mobile app that includes a QR bar code scanner.

Lead Photo

The merchant's mobile app includes a QR code scanner that links shoppers from physical to digital content.

Cabela’s Inc., which debuted a mobile commerce web site earlier this year, has come to recognize the power mobile technology can have not just as a channel to sell goods but as a tool that influences shoppers in stores. This, it says, is why it today has launched a mobile app with versions for Apple Inc.’s iOS and Google Inc.’s Android mobile operating systems.

The hunting, fishing and outdoor gear retailer, No. 40 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, says it’s leveraging the impact and influence mobile has across all channels to drive customers to stores, generate sales, enhance loyalty and gain insight on consumer buying behavior.

“We are seeing more and more of our customers pull out their smartphones while in our retail stores to do research and become more educated about our products and services,” says Mark Thompson, director of e-commerce at Cabela’s. “Through the new app, we are creating a deeper and more engaging relationship with our customers.”

One significant way Cabela’s is crossing channels is by including in the app a QR code scanner. QR codes are a type of 2-D bar code, which are black-and-white or color squares that can contain much more information than horizontal-only 1-D bar codes, such as the Universal Product Code, or UPC. An app user selects the scanner, then holds his smartphone above the QR code; the camera automatically reads the code, then links the shopper to a mobile-optimized web page containing product information, customer reviews and product videos.

Cabela’s will begin using QR codes in its print catalogs so customers can scan special offers or select products while using the Cabela’s iPhone or Android app to immediately see the item or offer and buy it directly from their smartphones.

The app includes key features that enable consumers to quickly search, browse and buy. Such features include product photos, complete product descriptions, site search, customer ratings and reviews, shop by category, store locator, and access to Cabela’s Club loyalty program accounts.

Cabela’s used m-commerce technology provider Digby to build the mobile app; Digby also built the m-commerce site.

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